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Full text of "When the gates lift up their heads : a story of the seventies"

Cibrara of 
Q:1]c Unicersihj of Hortl] Carolina 



COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINIAN A 



ENDOWED BY 

JOHN SPRUNT HILL 

of the class of 1889 



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FOR USE ONLY IN 
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)rm No. A-368, Rev. 8/95 




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When the Gates Lift Up 
Their Heads 

A S'TORT OF rHE SEVENTIES 

By 

Payne Erskine 



"Lift up your heads, O ye gates, . . . 
and the King of glory shall come in." 



** All I could never be, 
All, men ignored in me, 
This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped. 

• • • • • 

Fool ! All that is, at all, 

Lasts ever, past recall 5 
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure j 

What entered into thee. 

That was, is, and shall be : 
Time's wheeJ runs back or stops : Potter and clay endure." 

Robert Browning 



i ' 



Boston 
Little, Brown, and Company 

1901 



Copyright, igoi. 
By Little, Brown, & Company 



All rigbti ^t&ierved 



UNIVERSITY PRESS • JOHN WILSON 
AND SON • CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A. 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

I. Chiaro-oscuro I 

II. The Return to Old Scenes and Ac- 
quaintances 30 

III. Past and Present 53 

IV. Old Friendships 62 

V. The New Boarding-house 79 

VI. Hopes and Plans 99 

VII. Under Cover of Darkness 105 

VIIL JosEPHus' Secret 113 

IX. A Dusky Coquette 126 

X. Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms . 132 

XI. The Excursion 143 

XII. The Girl at the German Bridge . . . 155 

XIII. "Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 166 

XIV. The Drive Home 180 

XV. "Why n't yo' shoot Turrer Mule?" . 192 

XVI. "Ol' Missus' Return" 199 

XVII. A Girl's Way 210 

XVIII. Special Pleading 230 

XIX. Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es . . . 247 

XX. The Blind Woman's Visit 262 



vi Contents 

Chapter Page 

XXI. Marguerite Sets the Fashion . . . 280 

XXII. Confidences 290 

XXIII. Rescue and Surrender . . . .- . . 310 

XXIV. Aunt Isabel Remonstrates ....*. 331 
XXV. Portia Sings the Old Songs • • • • 351 

XXVI. The Old Days Revived 365 

XXVII. A Midnight Visit 377 

XXVIII. A Bitter Cup 392 

XXIX. The Judgment of Portia 418 



WHEN THE GATES 
LIFT UP THEIR HEADS 

A ^TORY OF THE SEVEJVTIES 

CHAPTER I 
CHI ARO-OSCURO 

JOSEPHUS, dat yo' clut'rin' roun' dar? Wha' 
yo' s'poses I hyah dis mawnin'? Yo' t'ink 
'case I don' git roun' spry, like I use tu, no 
mo', I don' hyah nuffin'. Dem folkses f om de 
No'f 's gwine fix up de ol' place an' take bo'dahs." 
The speaker replaced a cob pipe between her lips 
and laughed a low, soft chuckle. ''Take bo'dahs 
f om de No'f in de ol' place ! My, ef ol' missus' 
ghos' won't r'ar roun' de place 'nd make dem screach 
in deir baids ! " 

The heavy step, lumbering over the loose board 
floor of Mammy Clarissa's lean-to addition to 
her one-room cabin, ceased a moment. Presentlv 
Josephus' huge figure darkened the small doorway. 
He must stoop if he would enter. Leaning against 
the door-post, he regarded the old woman, com- 
placently smoking by the chimney-side, with a 
curious gleam of humor lighting his broad black 
face. 

** Wha* fo' ol' missus' ghos' r'ar roun' de place 'fo* 
shedaid?" 
I 



2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Ef she daid, sonny, ef she daid. She ain' hate 
nuffin' like she hate dem No'f Yankees. She nebber 
gwine leab dem lib in de ol' place 'daout she pester 
'em. VVhar missus hate, she pester. She ain* 
gwine leab go her teef no mo' 'n a bulldog, foh all 
she so slim an' limber, like de win' gwine blow her 
'way. I knows ol' missus, I does. I knowed ol' 
missus eber sence we war gals 'nd uset tu play 
togedder. She hate yallah gal, wus 'n she hate nig- 
gers 'nd po' white trash. I knows her." With 
another soft laugh she puffed away at her pipe in 
meditative silence. 

*'Whar yo' git so much hyahin' o' de news, 
mammy?" Lovers of gossip are the negroes all. 

" Chas," was the laconic reply. 

" Chas ! " thundered the man, with sudden anger. 
"Chas! Did n' I tol' Chas nebber come dis-yer 
way 'g'in 'daout he want one good squarin' up wid 
me? Did n' I tol* Chas ef he come walkin' daoun 
dis road wid he's gen'l'man clo's, an' greased ha'r, 'n' 
sassy maouf, I gwine roll him daoun de branch like 
he a gum log struck wid de lightnin'? Which-a-way 
Chas go ? " 

The old woman puffed on In silence. 

" Which-a-way Chas go?" he shouted, striding in. 

Slowly, with the aid of her stick, she rose to her 
feet, and lifted one hand in warning, " Haish, 
Josephus! 'Case I ol' an' crupple up, yo' t'ink I 
gwine sit heah an' hyah yo' hollah at me like dat- 
a-way ! I ain' hoi' yo' bof In my ahms an' take de 
kyah an' patronage ob yo' an' nuss yo' fo' no sich 
wrastlln's 'n' fightin's an' goln's on like yu'ns been 
goin' on dese days. Ef yo' wan's Gabr'ella, take 




Chiaro-oscuro 3 

yo'se'f yandah in de co'n patch, whar yo' b'long. 
She ain' no fool. She know whar de silvah dollah 
weigh de heavies', on de back, o' in de pocket. 
Yo' git de dollah in de pocket, 'n* see whar Gabr'ella 
du de pickin'." 

*' I ain' kyah'n 'bouts sich trash." Josephus 
lowered his voice. " Mammy Clissy, yo' alius 
favohs Chas 'case he cahy yo' white face, 'n' slim, 
fine figgah, like he a bohned white man. He ain' 
no mo' white man 'n I is. Heah yo' is ol' an' 
crupple, wid de rheumatiz in de bones. Wha' he 
duin' fo' s'pote yo' ? Stannin' raoun' de stoah, 
smokin' de gen'l'man' segyah, wahin' de gen'l'man 
clo'es, dat buy yo' light-'ud fo' bile de kittle? Huh ! 
Ef he come heah wid he sassy mouf, I gwine knock 
dat fool smile aout'n him like I knocks de grunt 
aout'n de slick po'kah time de hog-killin'." With 
this angry threat he stooped to pass through the 
low doorway. 

" Josephus Ma'shall, yo' look me squah in de 
eye." He paused at her solemn tone. *' Min' now, 
yo' knows yo' ain' got no grudges 'gin Chas ontwell 
yo' bof git's sot on Gabr'ella Gunn wha' plays de 
melogimum daoun tu de cullud folkses' meet'n- 
haous like dey does in de white folkses' church. 
Humph ! No use in ouh folks puttin' on dese heah 
fine ahs 'n' ways like dey whitah 'n white folkses. 
Wen I war gal I min' haou dey uset tu git 'ligion 
daoun tu de cullud quatahs. Dey git daoun on dey 
knees an' cry aout an' call on de Sperit, an' rock 
dey se'fs back an' fo'th wid de powah, an' Brudder 
Thomas Ma'shall line off de hymn, an' dey niggahs 
dey jes* rise up an' jine in de cho'us wid de ' Glory 



4 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Hallelulia Ahmeii ' ontwell dey nigh lif de ruff off 
dc cabin, clar up tu Heaben, an' de Sperit come 
daoun like de lightnin' f'om de stohm claoud. 
Sho' nuff, yo' don* hyah nuffin' like dat dese days, 
wid her a-grin'in' aout de chune on dat ar machine, 
an' de niggahs gaupin' raoun' at de fine clo's jes' fo' 
all de worl' like white folkses." 

" Huh ! Wha' all dat du wid me 'n' Chas? " 
" Yo' t'ink I favahs Chas? Look a-heah. Ef 
yo' a min' yo' kin win' Chas raoun' an switch off 
he's haid like he been a willah twig in de spring. 
Wid he's fool ways he ain' got no show long side 
Josephus no-ways. Yo' leab Chas 'lone, hyah, an' 
leab Gabr'ella du de pickin'. I 'low she hab eyes, 
'n' mo' sense 'n bof yu'ns put togedder. He ain' in 
yo' way no mo' dan I is. Jes' yo' own lazy way an' 
mannah, clutt'rin' raoun' de haous co'n-plant'n' 
time mo' in yo' way wid sich a right smaht peart 
gal like Gabr'ella." 

" G'long 'bouts Gabr'ella," returned Josephus, 
doggedly. " I ain' gvvine 'low dat high-tone Lawd 
Chastahfield Mahshall smile dat gran' smile tu me 
like he haff tu step daoun off 'n de white folkses' 
meet'n-haous ruff ebcry time he 'low he's se'f tu 
say haoudy." 
e/.<^ / *' Nuvva yo' min', honey, yo' don' git no highah 
' ^ n up in dis worl' knockin' nuddah man daoun. Yo' 
■f-4 \^^ ca'y yo* haid up like dat ah rock top o' yandah 
maountain. Hit a mighty brack rock, heap bracker 
'n yo' is, but I 'low Chas' smile kyan touch hit, an' 
dar hit stan' f'om de beginnin's ob de yearth. Wen 
yo' feels like yo' gwine git daoun an' t'rash Chas,^ 
jes' yo' look yandah an' t'ink w'at yo' ol' mammj 






Chiaro-oscuro 5 

tells yo'. Wen dat rock gwine kill sump'n hit 
baoun' tu leab de maount'n top, an' roll daoun in de 
branch, an' hit ain' gwine git back no mo'." 

There remained no more to be said. Josephus 
drew a huge silver watch from his pocket, and, 
scowlingly consulting it, said, " I 'low ef I git ol' 
Jude shod dis ebenin' I betteh scuttle roun'." 

Knocking the ashes from her pipe and placing it 
on a shelf suspended near the chimney. Mammy 
Clarissa proceeded to rake open the embers of the 
morning's fire. 

** Fotch heah leetle mo' light-'ud, sonny. I 's 
gwine knock togeddah a co'n pone. Sho' nuff, yo' 
gwine hab dinnah 'fo' yo' goes. Yo' ol' mammy 
gits mighty lonesome w'en dey ain' nobody heah 
tu smack dey lips ovah her cookin'." 

Stepping about with considerable alertness, with 
the aid of her cane, there was a cheerful sound in 
its thump, thump, to the ears of Josephus; she soon 
had a crackling fire and a boiling kettle, while the 
odor of toasting bacon pervaded the room. She 
chattered cheerfully as she worked, while her son 
sat in the doorway whittling and watching her. 

** I reckon yo' steps raoun' heap peartah dan half 
de gals ef yo' is crupple," he remarked, as she set 
a plate of smoking corn-bread on a little table 
under the one unglazed window, and poured out 
a generous cup of black coffee. 

" I reckon," she said, a quick gleam of pride 
flashing from her eyes. Seventy years of toil and 
submission had not quenched their fire. 

*' Mammy, whar was yo' rose? Yo' tells a heap 
'bouts ol' mars'r 'n' de ol' place, but yo' nuvva 



6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

goes back on dat ar ontvvell yo' 'lowed yo' an' ol' 
missus uset tu play tugeddah. Wan' ol' missus 
fotch up heah fom New O'leans o' daoun dat-a- 
way ? " 

" Laws ! Play wid ol' missus ! I speck nobody 
evah knowed ol' missus like I." She took a cup 
of coffee and sat down opposite her son. " Yo' 
nuvah hyeard me tell 'bout'n my maw. She war 
ol' missus' mammy. We war 'baout 'n age, liT Miss 
Is'bel 'n' me. On'y she war mo' darker 'n me fo' 
all she war white bohned." Mammy Clarissa leaned 
forward with her elbows on her knees, and her cup 
of coffee held in both hands, while she gazed far 
away into the past. ** Her paw war Spanish. He 
come fom Cuba o' Mexico, o' New O'leans, some 
o' dem islands daoun dat-a-way. I don' rightly 
reckon whar. W'en we war long 'baout 'n eight 
y'ar ol', he took he's fambly an' my maw long back 
whar he come fom. My maw war mighty peart 
an' putty, an' nigh whitah 'n I is, wid a cl'ar, pale 
sof skin, wha' look like de moon w'en hit come up 
yandah ovah de maount'n in de daytime. Many 's 
de time she uset tu look at me wid dem great eyes 
o* hern, so still an sad like I uset tu kiver my 
haid wid de baid clo'es so 't she could n' look no 
mo'. I min' haow she took on w'en mars'r lef me 
behine. ' Oh, my li'l' gal, my li'l' gal.' I kin hyah 
dem words yit like hit war yes'day, an' I kin see 
her yit, leanin' ovah dat ar side railin' long side 
de boat wha' she sail off in. Dem de las' words 
I evah hyah her say, an' dat de las' I evah see o' 
her, jes' her white, white face wid de dark ha'r 
crumple raoun' hit, — her ha'r wan' like yo' rale 



^ %il i ^^^-"f 



\ 



Chiaro-oscuro 7 

niggah ha'r 110 way, — wid her fine red silk tur- 
ban, an' her white dress blowin' aout wid de win', 
so sof an' fine (mars'r al'us war mighty proud man, 
he kep' her jes' so find dressed an' peart) wid de 
tears runnin' daoun an' droppin' in de watah, an' 
* Oh, my H'r gal, my li'l' gal ! ' ovah an' ovah. I 
nuvah fogit hit, nuvah, an' li'l' Miss Is'bel stannin' 
by puUin' on her dress dis-a-way an' dat-a-way, an' 
callin', * Mammy, mammy, leab go dat railin', come 
heah an' see de boats.' She war al'us mighty mars- 
terful war Miss Is'bel, mighty marsterful, young an' 
ol'. I spec' ef she libbin' she marsterful still. Dey 
don' break nowhar aout, dem kin'." She paused 
and sipped her cofTee. 

*' T'ank de Lawd, dem days is pas' an' gone by," 
ejaculated Josephus, fervently. 

** Yas, yu kin du dat. Yo' tink yo' mighty ha'd 
used w'en yo' kyan vote yo' own papah, but, laws, 
dat ain' nufifin' like de ol' times 'fo' de wah. Yo' 
nuvah rightly had no 'speunce like we ol'-uns. 
VVe-uns war jes' kep' undah, an' bought an' sol' 
fom one nuddah. I kin feel de ol' feelinsf rose 
up in my t'roat w'en I t'ink on dose times, an' hit 
a mighty big lump tu swallah. Yo'-uns wha' war 
chillun hab a mighty heap tu t'ank de Lawd fo'." 

*' De day comin' w'en I 's gwine stan' up an' 
vote free as any white man. Nex' time dey has 
a votin' I ain' gwine stan' an' see de cullud people 
knocked raoun*. Ef any man pestah me, I 's gib 
him sump'n dat tek him cl'ar aout 'n dis worl' intu 
de nex' an' I 's gwine raoust up de res' o' de cullud 
people tu du de same. Dey's one cullud man tu 
ev'y white man in dis-yer No'th C'liny, I reckon." 



J 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Navv, honey, yo' ain' du dat. Yo' lib de hones', 
squar' Hfe, an' leab de Lawd du de knockin'. He 
did n' set yp' free, fo'^no sech bloodsheddin' an' bad 
duin's. Yo' mighty marsterful dese days. 'Pears 
Hke yo' been cotchin' Chas' high-headed way an' 
mannah." 

'' I ain' cotch nuffin' f om Chas, but yo' min', de 
day comin' w'en I 's gwine vote fa'r an' no man tu 
hendah." 

" Me'by so, but hit won' be none o' yo' bringin'. 
Ef hit come, de Lawd gwine fotch hit. He done a 
heap mo' fo' we-uns dan yo' rightly reckons, yo' 
ain' had de 'speunce like we ol' ones. He may du 
a heap mo', but yo' kyan fo'ce de Lawd, hit baoun* 
tu come in his own time an' way, onless yo'-uns 
gits tu fo'cin' an' sheddin' bro'dah's blood. I 'low 
we-all don' t'ink on dat like we 'd aughtah, dat all 
we f om de whites' tu de brackes' stain wid' dat 
white stain. Dar kyan no sich stain be wash aout 
wid bro'dah's blood. Hit a ha'd sayin', but hit 
de troof. Yandah sits Joe, brackah dan a burnt 
pine knot, but daoun undah de brack, in de h'a't 
ob him lies dat white stain, an* heah sits he's ol' 
muddah, de white stain all ovah her, but way 
daoun, in de core like, lies de black streak, like 
de red in de h'a't o' de wine apple. Hit dar fom 
de far way pas', 'fo' I war bohned, an' 'fo' my maw 
war bohned. Yo' kyan wipe hit aout no mo' 'n yo' 
kin wipe dat shadow off 'n de wall yandah." 

Josephus rose, and, placing his two great hands 
on the top of the door casing, leaned his head 
against them and looked moodily out. His mother 
began to clear away their few dishes. The thump 



Chiaro-oscuro g 

of her cane seemed to have lost its cheerful sound. 
A patient weariness settled over her face like a 
cloud, and she worked in silence. 

Suddenly the sun, bursting through clouds, 
streamed in at the little window, glorifying the 
cabin. She stood full in its light, deftly moving 
her slender hands. The quivering water in the pan 
cast dancing reflections over the rough ceiling and 
walls. Her silvery hair, waving and crinkling from 
her forehead, reflected the light, making a halo of 
glory round her head. She made a fine study in 
chiaro-oscuro, standing thus in the warm glow, 
the blackened wall and smoky old fireplace for a 
background, the strong outlines of her face and 
figure in the rich radiance of yellow light, which 
shaded suddenly away into the surrounding black- 
ness of darkness, — a Rembrandt portrait typifying 
her life ; the shadowy background of the past dark- 
ened by slavery and its attendant evils, her wrinkled 
face still bearing its stoical expression of patience, 
her mind still blighted with ignorance, yet standing 
now in the sunlight of freedom, the clouds swept 
away by an unseen hand, and her spirit feeling the 
warm glow and expanding to a realization of the 
true meaning of aspiration and trust, of adoration 
and peace, ignorant, yet having that wisdom which 
is learned not from books, nor from the tongues 
of men, but from the soul's temptations and 
afflictions. 

" No, sonny, yo* ain' had de 'speunce like we. 
Dem days nuvah gwine come back no mo', t'ank de 
Lawd ! Yo' don' rightly reckon what-all he done fo' 
yo'." 



1 o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

She began putting away the dishes, using one 
hand while she held the cane with the other. " I 
kin see dat time yit, de bitterness and de heavy 
h'a't, de nights o' cryin', an' de days servin' twell 
missus 'low ef I keep on dat-a-way she gwine sell 
me off South C'liny way, 'case I spile my eyes fo' de 
fine stitchin'. Dem days mars'r in Wash'nton, an' 
she run de place. Hit a good time tu fo'git, mighty 
good time tu fo'git, but 'pears lak I kyan fo'git no 
mo' 'n I kin walk 'daout dis-yer cane. Yo'-uns wha' 
war raised sence de wall, count yo' marcies, an' 
t'ink a heap on dem ar 'fo' yo' gits tu dis'beyin' de 
comman's o' de Lawd wha' set yo' free. 01' Brudder 
Thomas Ma'shall used tu tell de niggahs daoun 
tu de quatahs, * Ef a man hit yo' on one cheek, 
tu'n de oddah, an' nuvah lif yo' han'.' 'Pears 
like hit gitt'n' late ef yo* gwine git Jude shod 
dis ebenin'. Time 'fo' de wah, I nebber 'lowed tu 
lib dis-yer way, in my own cabin, wid no missus 
tu say fotch heah, no' go dar, wid my own son 
tu plant de co'n, an' dribe he's own mule team 
long de road." 

Josephus grew radiant for a moment with kindly 
light. *' Yo' kin t'ank de Lawd, an' yo' own se'f tu, 
I reckon. 01' missus ain' he'p none wha' yo' wo'k 
an' strive fo' all yo' life, no' de white folkses heah- 
bouts neidah. Yo' git dis cabin an' Ian' wo'kin' 
wid de right han' an' de lef heah an' yandah, I 's 
gwine tek right smaht keer o' hit tu." He entered a 
rough shed a few paces away as he spoke. 

" Dat de trues' wo'd yo' done spoke dis mawnin'," 
she called from the cabin doorway. ** Yo' min' de 
co'n patch, an' leab 'sputin' wid Chas an' de white 



Chiaro-oscuro 1 1 

folkses. Yo' 's a heap bettah off dan de run o' 
niggahs, I reckon." 

She carefully drew the coals in the fireplace 
together, covering them with ashes, and proceeded 
to fill her pipe from a leather pouch hanging by a 
cord from a nail in the wall near the chimney, within 
easy reach from her chair. 

" Yas, I reckon," she soliloquized. " Did n' I wash 
fo' Miss Mann Torn de No'f wha' larnt de chillun 
daoun tu de schule-haouse, de hul' time she war heah, 
an' she larn' him de read'n' an' writin' an' figu'in' tu 
pay fo' hit? 01' Missus 'lowed niggahs could n' I'arn 
dem ar. Dem No'f Yankees done larn sech as her 
heap sence dem days." 

Again her thoughts wandered to the past. With 
hands clasped, and eyes fixed vacantly on the hearth, 
she leaned forward, musing and smoking in silence. 
Long since Josephus had clattered away on old 
Jude's back, riding without saddle or bridle, guiding 
the animals by a stroke of the strap by which Bona- 
parte was led, or rather ignominiously dragged, for 
he scuffled along reluctantly after Jude, carrying 
his nose high in the air at the pull of Josephus' 
powerful arm. 

It was two miles in a straight line from his cabin 
to the village, but he had to traverse four, up hill and 
down, before he reached the blacksmith shop, which, 
with two rival notion stores, — in one of which was 
the post-office, — a lodging-house with saloon 
attachment, and diminutive railway station, occupied 
the main street. Also the place was provided with 
three churches, a schoolhouse, and a huge pile of 
lumber, which it was fondly hoped would sometime 



1 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

be so disposed and arranged as to form a hotel 
for refugees from a more rigorous clime. Having 
been put there when the road was first put through, 
it had lain undisturbed ever since, owing to a quarrel 
between the owners of the land, which lay back of 
the town, and comprised the whole of Blue Hill, 
so named from the color of the pines by which it 
had been covered ; now it bore a bare and stumpy 
appearance, broken by low scraggy black oaks, 
which had miraculously sprung into existence after 
the pines were cleared ofif. 

Josephus kept his mules to their fastest gait, a 
nimble scamper, swinging the strap above his head, 
and giving an occasional admonitory whoop, but 
he neither whistled nor sang, as was his wont. Being 
a leading voice in the colored choir, he took evident 
pleasure in his own rich mellow tones, but to-day 
he was silent. His mother's words were with him. 
Halfway to the village a stream of clear water 
cut across the road and wound musically along 
beside it, among stones and boulders, taking its 
reckless downward course, now hidden by clumps 
of laurel and rhododendron, thick vines and jut- 
ting, mossy rocks, now laughing in open spots 
and flashing back the sunlight, now resting in 
some deep, shaded, inaccessible pool, where the 
fish lie in hiding. The road, winding up, up, round 
the steep hillside, ever widened the distance be- 
tween itself and the stream below, until, looking 
down from his far height on the jolly little torrent, 
the traveller sees its flash and glitter, but hears 
not its brawling, as an aged man, looking back 
from the summit of his years, sees only the bright- 



Chiaro-oscuro 1 3 

ness of his youth, but hears not the turmoil of 
his early life. 

The stream was not bridged where it crossed the 
road ; of what use, where people preferred driving 
through the sparkling water, on its hard, pebbly 
bed? In the fabled days *' befo' de wah," a bridge 
had spanned it; an abutment of one remained, on 
which rested one end of a hewn log which had 
been felled and allowed to fall across for the 
benefit of foot travellers, the other end resting 
on and partly attached to its own stump. As 
Josephus neared this spot, a young negress, trim 
and straight as a sapling, was crossing, bearing 
on her head a good-sized basket covered with a 
white cloth. Instantly, on perceiving her, his whole 
face expanded. 

" Howdy, Miss Gunn, howdy ! " he exclaimed, 
vaulting from old Jude's back onto the log with a 
spring like a tiger's. *' Hit 's a right smaht time 
sence we seed one 'nudder." 

" I declar', Mistah Ma'shall, yo' mighty sudden. 
Yo' put' nigh upsot me 'n' dese heah aigs an' buttah 
in de branch." Putting one hand up to steady the 
basket, she slowly turned on the narrow footway, 
facing him a moment with a half-defiant look, and 
then moved on. 

" Ain' yo' nuvah gwine make up wid me no 
mo' " ? he asked, jerking at the mule's leading 
strap. 

" Naw," she returned, skilfully balancing the 
basket; " I don' du no makin' up tu yo', no mo' 'n 
I 'lowed tu roust up dis-yer fuss. Yo' own se'f 
done dat." 



1 4 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Heah, Gabr'ella, gi' me dat basket to ca'y tu de 
stoah fo' yo'. I 's hu'ted 'baouts yo 'n' Chas sweet- 
hea'tin'. I aiii' gwine say no mo'." 

"As yo' like, Mistah Ma'shall, I nuvah axed yo' 
fo' tu say nuffin', noh is I gwine say yo' sha'n't, noli 
is I gwine tu de stoah." She seated herself on the 
stump and rested the basket at her feet. '' I 's 
take a contrac' fo' tu supply fo' de new bo'din'- 
haouse," 

Leaving the mules to drink, Josephus crossed and 
sat by her side, slapping the palm of one hand with 
the end of the strap, while he eyed her furtively. 

" Listen heah, Josephus," she resumed, " s'pos'n' 
Chas come daoun de road and see we a-sittin' heah 
side one 'nuddah dis-yer way, an' den go talk like he 
t'ink I come long heah dis mawnin','case I t'ink I 
gwine see yo' heah. Humph ! p'r'aps hit my fault 
yo' come clat'n' daoun de hill. P'r'aps hit my fault 
Jude got dat white streak daoun her nose. Ef yo' 
bides 'way f'om meetin', an' Bruddeh Jefson say 
]\Iistah Chastahfield Ma'shall pleas'n lead in de 
singin', haow dat my fault?" 

" Ef Chas Stan' long side Gabr'ella Gunn, he 
mighty neah-sighted all o' a suddent, kyan see dem 
ar hymn tune words rightly 'daout he look mighty 
clost, a bowin' daoun tu see, an' a-rosein' up tu 
hollah, an' a-bowin' daoun an' a-rosein' up 'g'in, 
rubbin' dat fine greased ha'r ovah Miss Gunn's bes' 
bunnit. I heah tell hit done look like hit laid in 
de fryin'-pan on dat side long nex' whar Chas 
Stan'." His great frame shook with inward laughter, 
as, with head dropped sideways and broad shoulders 
lifted, he continued to watch her face. 



Chiaro-oscuro 1 5 

" Is yo' any call tu wah de bunnit? Ef yo' keeps 
way f 'om dat side Miss Gunii yo' own se'f, hit won' 
pestah yo' none." With face perfectly unmoved 
by his raillery, she slowly fanned herself with her 
sunbonnet. The spot was sheltered by the hills 
from the wind, and they sat, as negroes love to 
do, in the full glare of the sun. Presently voices 
broke the silence, and two people approached the 
opposite side of the stream, walking slowly down 
the hill. 

" I must do it, grandfather." The tones were 
decided, and the girlish voice was clear and sweet. 
** She is better here, so we can't take her back. I 
am sure I can manage, and if you are too lonely 
and homesick, could n't you spend part of the 
year with Aunt Anna?" 

''Impossible! I wouldn't think of leaving you 
alone with your mother in this wilderness. Over 
half the population are negroes, and the rest seem 
to be afflicted with some kind of lethargy. You 
might both die here, and no one be the wiser. No, 
I must stay by you, but I own to being disappointed 
in the place." 

The man was past sixty, though he appeared 
much younger. His face was fine and keen, and 
his figure tall and thin; his great-coat, of the finest 
material, hung on him with the air of having been 
long worn, and well kept. Its folds followed the 
lines of his slender figure, and draped it with the 
easy familiarity of old friendship. 

" I know you are, and it troubles me. I don't 
care for myself. At any rate, if mamma gets well 
here, the place will be paradise to me. We are n't 



1 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

half settled yet; when my piano comes, you will 
take up your violin again, and we will have some 
of the good old times together once more." She 
stopped abruptly as she saw her grandfather 
hesitate. " Oh, we can cross on that log. I did 
it yesterday. It is quite firm, see?" She stepped 
lightly up and held out her hand. 

But he stood still, and shook his head. " I am 
growing old, Portia, I am growing old," he said 
sadly. 

Josephus rose and stretched himself. " Hoi' 
dis-yer strop, Gabr'ella ; I 's gwine holp de ol' gen'l'- 
man ovah." She took the leading strap, and he 
sauntered toward the hesitating couple. 

" Dis-yer log is mighty ticklesome crossin', sah," 
said he, with a gleaming smile. '' Ef yo' tek a hoi' 
o' my han', I 's hoi' yo' stiddy like." 

" Yes, grandfather, do," said the girl. ** It will 
be too much for you to go back the way we came." 
After a glance at the negro and another at the 
brawling water below, he gave his thin, nervous 
hand into Josephus' strong grasp, and was soon 
on the other side. " Thank you, my good fellow ; 
it is a fine thing to be strong," he said. 

"And I thank you too," said the girl, looking 
brightly up. She nodded to Gabr'ella as they 
passed on. 

" I do believe that 's the one who is to bring our 
eggs and butter," she said after a moment. " That 's 
the way with every one about here, to judge by 
their actions. They have all the time there is and 
a little more. One of our greatest trials will be to 
get anything done unless we do it ourselves." 



Chiaro-oscuro 1 7 

*' Yourself, not ourselves. I am only a draft 
upon your nervous energy. Hav' n't you, for all 
your wise little head and busy little hands, think 
of it, dear, undertaken too great a burden? You 
have not gone so far but that you can still give 
it up." 

** I have thought of it in all its hideousness." 

" The Percys will spend the first season, — that is 
all very well, very pleasant; but you might get in a 
disagreeable set, and then there is the chance that, 
after all is done, the house furnished, the horses 
purchased, and help engaged, we might get no 
boarders." 

" We won't get the horses until we see if they 
come, — the boarders, I mean. As for the disagree- 
able set, I don't take them for companionship, but 
because we must have money. I will do my part 
as well as I can, and if people are unpleasant, will 
try not to mind. There is no other way in this 
place of earning a living ; and as for the place, well, 
if it were not for the inhabitants, I should think 
myself in paradise. Now that romantic spot where 
we crossed on the log, no wonder they wanted to 
sit there ; only they are so used to the wildness, I 
suppose they have no idea of its beauty. Every- 
thing is so clean here, — all nature, I mean. In 
mamma's room in the evening, I lean out of the 
window and listen, and every sound seems like a 
musical note. But, oh, noisy, dirty Chicago ! I 
can't forget that awful night when we thought you 
dead, and had such a time getting mamma out of 
the burning district. It comes back to me like a 
nightmare. When I think of it I don't care for the 

2 



1 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

home or anything, since I have you and mamma 
safe." She paused in her hurried words, and her 
grandfather switched at the azalea bushes with 
his cane. 

" At the conservatory I had my piano and papa's 
portrait, so we have them still." 

"Yes, Portia, we have you to thank for all we 
have left; but I am an old dog, and 'It's hard to 
teach an old dog new tricks.' " 

" You are not an old dog, you are a dear young 
grandfather," she contradicted. " You know you 
didn't care for society; how often you only went 
with me because I wished it ! Here you won't have 
to do that. No dress affairs to bore you, no operas, 
more 's the pity, no musicals but our private 
rehearsals, yours and mine, and then here 's the 
garden. You always said you would rather dig in 
the ground than ride in a carriage, and here you 
have it, — plenty of ground and no carriage." 

The anxious look faded from his face, and he 
put out his arm and drew her towards him. In 
silence they walked on like a pair of lovers. The 
path led them away from the road to the village 
through a wild ravine, past a mill-pond, an old mill, 
and a rickety bridge. Nature had overrun and 
adorned what the hand of man had constructed for 
purposes of utility only, and the place was a per- 
fect wilderness of beauty. They paused on the 
bridge, leaning over the railing, to listen to the 
falling water, the steady burring of the mill, and 
the wind in the treetops. The drops flashed from 
the great paddles of the clumsy wheel like diamonds. 

" Perhaps that is the wheel of fortune grinding 



Chiaro-oscuro 1 9 

out my destiny along with the negro's corn," said 
Portia. 

A very black negro was mounting a thin white 
horse to ride away. They had watched him carry 
in his grist, brought in two ends of a sack hung 
over the back of the horse. Her grandfather shook 
his head sadly. '' It makes me dizzy to watch it ; 
let us walk on," he said. 

** Grandpapa Ridgeway, we have gone too far ; 
why did you let me?" she cried in sudden 
contrition. 

** No, child, I am not tired, but I wish I could 
look into your future and know what it is to be." 

" Are n't you willing to trust that to my Maker? " 
she asked gayly, though with a quick glance in 
his face. She darted away to gather a cluster of 
delicate little iris that grew under a boulder. " Oh, 
you sweet things ! How lovely ! I must find more 
for mamma," and she did, kicking among the dead 
leaves and sticks. The road led them through 
woodland with much undergrowth, interspersed 
with huge rocks jutting out of the ground, half- 
burnt logs, and great fallen trees, and winding 
gradually upward emerged on an open level space, 
fenced in, and showing signs of former cultivation. 
It was an old tobacco plantation. The road here 
was hard and smooth, and a worn footpath ran 
along one side, bordered by wild flowers, and 
brambly shrubs which caught at Portia's dress as 
she passed. On the left a rail fence stretched its 
long line of triangles, its corners filled with a wild 
tangle of blackberry bushes and laurels and azaleas, 
while dogwoods and redbuds and other flower- 



20 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

ing trees lifted their graceful heads above the 
tangle, and swung their long branches over the 
path. Now they were bare, but full, bursting buds 
gave promise of glory to come. On the right 
stretched a line of whitewashed picket fence. The 
kindly hand of Nature had not yet softened its 
ugliness enough to harmonize it with herself. On 
this side, halfway up the slope, which an Illinois 
farmer would call a hill, stood a house, so situated 
as to overlook the plantation, as well as the whole 
fertile valley of which it was a part, and the hills 
which bound it stretching away in receding perspec- 
tive, green, purple, and blue in the far distance, 
where a glimpse of a gleaming river cut its way 
through the mountains. 

The house had now only a semblance of its 
former grandeur. The ample piazzas had a warped 
appearance, and the roof lines seemed to be trying 
to conform themselves to the undulating sky-lines 
of the surrounding hills. From its evident antiquity 
it must have been built years " befo' de wah," 
and solidly, with extensive red-brick masonry un- 
derneath. Farther up the slope, on each side and 
behind, was the usual litter of small detached 
buildings and sheds formerly occupied by the throng 
of negro domestics that used to overrun, and were 
considered necessarv to a Southern home of af- 
fluence. The neglected grounds had once been 
skilfully laid out. A broad drive led through one 
arched gateway in the now whitewashed picket 
fence, past the wide porches and off out through 
another arched gateway some distance away, and 
directly in front of the house was an old fountain 



Chiaro-oscuro 2i 

with well-cemented basin, long since gone dry. 
Giant acacias and mimosas drooped slender branches 
over it, and tall forest trees arched the drive, while 
all manner of ornamental shrubbery and vines ran 
riot over the winding paths and dry garden beds. 
Heavy timber in great variety covered the broad 
slope of land above and around, up to the sky-line, 
and the tinkle of cow-bells was he'ard at intervals as 
the patient creatures that bore them browsed among 
the undergrowth. 

Mr. Ridgeway and his granddaughter paused as 
they turned to enter the gateway. He looked at 
the neglected home, she at the glowing distance. 

*' It is pathetic, this faded grandeur," he said. 
** So much is gone forever, eager happy lives, whose 
ambitions and hopes are ended, and whose labor 
is ending in this ruin, desolation." 

Portia shaded her eyes with her hand. " Look 
at the other side, grandfather. This beautiful little 
valley in the sunlight, it is lik\^ one of God's smiles 
on the earth. It makes me think of his wonderful 
promises to humanity, so sheltered and safe, as if it 
lay in the hollow of his hand ; and off there beyond 
that shining line of the river, it looks, when the sun 
is setting, as if it opened into heaven. Of course, 
the ruined home is pathetic, as you say, but only 
because it represents one of our great human 
failures, don't you think? They failed to adjust 
themselves to divine laws. I don't mean that the 
people w^ere wicked, but the home was founded 
on a curse, and this is the end." 

*' Perhaps, Portia, yes. The view is a never-fail- 
ing delight, certainly." 



• 



22 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

** This whitewashed fence appeals more to me. 
It speaks of one poor old soul's faithfulness to 
his master's memory and the past dignity of the 
family. Alexander did it ; he told me '01' mars'r 
al'us kep' t'ings mighty fine an' tidy. He done 
hyahd folkses f'om de No'f comin' an' 'lowed he 'd 
fix hit up li'l' fo' ol' mars'r's sake.' So he white- 
washed the fence and arches, and then put what 
lime he had left on his little cabin. It went half- 
way round. The back and one side are bare. 
Poor fellow, he was so proud of it ! " 

" Yes, poor old fellow, but it was well the lime 
gave out when it did, or he would have begun on 
the house. There is your mother. Well, Portia, do 
your own way. It is usually a good way. I will 
help all in my power, but don't attempt too much, 
child." 

A sHght, delicate woman in black, wrapped in a 
soft white shawl, emerged from the doorway as he 
spoke. Portia ran lightly up the drive to meet her. 

'* We have had such a good time together, mamma 
deary," she cried, '* only never before in such a per- 
fectly charming place. The walks around here are 
as romantic as they are in books. I shall be so glad 
when you can go too." She gathered the fleecy 
shawl close under her mother's chin, and kissed her 
on one cheek, then on the other. " See these little 
iris. I found them growing along by the roadside, 
just anywhere." 

" Oh, they are lovely, and fragrant too," said her 
mother, taking the cluster from Portia's warm, plump 
hand into both her own thin, cold ones, and the 
three generations entered this old Southern home 



Chiaro-oscuro 23 

together. The father and daughter bore a strong 
resemblance to each other, but the granddaughter 
was of a quite different type. 

Within, the mansion presented a less neglected 
and more homelike aspect than without, owing to 
the continued gracious and home-making presence 
for the last two or three months of Portia Van 
Ostade. This rambling old house, with twenty 
acres of the wooded hillside, and nine hundred 
dollars in her own right, had been bequeathed to 
her by her grand-uncle, Oscar Van Ostade. A 
strange bequest it had seemed to the family at the 
time. It was now their sole dependence. " Portia's 
white elephant," they had called it, and the question 
arose, what could she do with it? It coukl never be 
sold ; no one would go to live in that far-away place. 
" We will just let it lie," said Grandfather Ridgeway, 
good-humoredly ; ''the interest on the money will 
pay the taxes, and keep it in repair," and he put the 
deed away among his private papers. Four years 
afterwards the great treasure-box was exhumed from 
a huge heap of debris, and the deed taken from it, a 
woful bit of charred parchment. 

To-day, as they entered the sitting-room, a wood 
fire burned brightly in the huge red-brick fireplace. 

*'Ah, this is pleasant," said Mr. Ridgeway; ''it 
makes a cheerful room of this, after all." 

" Now, grandfather," said Portia, reproachfully, 
" are n't you glad we have my ' white elephant ' to 
come to? But I know you said that 'after all' 
because you had such a forlorn time trying to man- 
age here those first few weeks all alone, and these 
great piazzas keep out the sun so." 



24 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I am an ungrateful wretch, I fear," he repHed ; 
** your grand-uncle Oscar must have had a prophetic 
soul." He dropped wearily into his armchair and, 
leaning back, closed his eyes. The two women 
looked lovingly at him, and exchanged glances. 

Mrs. Van Ostade put the flowers in water and 
then lay down on the couch. Portia seated herself 
in a low rocker and began sewing on some blue 
denim that lay piled on a chair before her. She 
was making portieres for one of the upper rooms. 
They remained silent for some time, and then began 
chatting quietly about the future. 

*' You must not give up your music even if we are 
living an isolated life. It may not always be so ; it 
must not," said her mother. 

" When I saw you really on the road to recovery, 
mamma," Portia laid a broad hem and creased it in 
place with a firm pressure of her thumb, "I — I 
advertised for boarders. Don't, mamma; such a 
look of horror makes me shiver. I knew you would 
call me crazy, but think, here I am, young, strong, 
and poor. Desperately poor we shall be. When 
the little sum we have now is gone, we shall have 
nothing at all to live on even from day to day, and 
grandpapa won't hear of our touching the little 
legacy that came to me with this property, and if 
we did how short a time it would last ! I have 
simply faced the fact. Either I must go away from 
you both to earn for us all, or you must live in 
some stuffy city while I teach, for I won't be de- 
pendent on relatives, and you would not have me. 
If I make a profession of my music, I must travel, 
and we should be parted. This surely is best." 



Chiaro-oscuro 25 

She spoke hurriedly, vehemently, her hands 
dropped passively in her lap, her face averted, and 
her eyes fixed on the dry fountain without. There 
the sun shone warmly. The leafless trees cast sharp 
shadows on the road and the piazza floor. Two 
bright little green lizards darted over the gray old 
stone edge of the fountain, overgrown in places 
with woodbine which quivered in the breeze. Her 
grandfather shifted his position with a little nervous 
movement, but did not open his eyes. Portia, turn- 
ing suddenly, saw two tears course down her mother's 
pale cheeks, which were quickly wiped away. In- 
stantly she was on her knees with her arms around 
the little woman, cuddling her, comforting her, with 
a woman's divination using arguments most potent 
to dispel the sorrowful foreboding she knew was the 
cause of them. 

" Why," she laughed in a smothered way, hiding 
her face in her mother's neck, *' before our various 
calamities, as you call them, I thought I was the 
happiest girl in existence. I did n't know what 
happiness was then. I lived in a misty halo of sen- 
timentalism, dreaming of living for art alone, and 
pure devotion to a sort of a something or other, I 
guess I did n't know what; and people were entirely 
left out, and you, httle mamma, were letting me 
think it was noble, and all that. Listen, mamma, 
that awful fire has swept away all that nonsense 
along with our wealth, and has let a little real light 
into my befogged brain. I don't say this just to 
comfort you ; I never was so truly happy as I am 
now, here, planning for us all, since you began to 
recover. I never had so many lovely things all to 



l6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

myself before, — you and grandpapa, and all nature, 
mountains, streams, woods, and wonderful wild 
places ; how I love them ! " She lifted her head 
and drew in her breath as if she were out in the 
woods breathing the freshness and fragrance. 

Her mother drew her fingers through Portia's 
fluffy hair. '* But when your boarders come, you 
won't have it all to yourself any more, and that 
money — " 

** Don't talk about the money. I must do things 
right, or not at all. The fountain must be set going, 
and horses and carriage bought. I must train 
some of the most hopeful material about me into 
good housemaids to help Maggie, dear soul. Help 
costs but little, and I shall keep all I need. I have 
thought it all out, mamma. Mr. Hacket will keep 
me in supplies sent daily from Asheville. They 
have very good markets there, Mr. Clark tells me." 

''Who is he?" 

" He is the station agent here, and is a Northern 
man. He seems to have some genuine refinement." 

"Are there none of the real old Southern families 
here who have culture? " 

** Yes, but they are so far apart, and seem to be 
so dispirited. I have n't had a chance to meet them 
yet. You are not vexed, mamma, that I did n't ask 
you? I couldn't; you were too ill. You are not 
strong enough now." - 

" How could I be vexed, deary? Yet I always 
said, if I ever should be thrown on my own resources, 
I never would resort to keeping boarders." 

" My advertisements have been answered, mamma. 
Mrs. Percy is coming first. She put the idea in my 



Chiaro-oscuro 27 

head, writing me and begging to come ; I wrote her 
I should have her to practise on." 

** She is lovely and lovable. Well, as you say, 
something must be done. Your head is like your 
father's, I can trust it; still, don't be too sanguine, 
and think. But there, it is all right ; think what 
you please, do what you please. Your sunny 
nature is your safety, and action is always better 
than foreboding." 

Mr. Ridgeway rose, and paced the floor, his hands 
behind his back, and his head drooped forward. 
He was about to speak, when a light tap was heard 
at the door, and the same instant a woman of thirty- 
eight or forty years, with red cheeks, dark blue 
eyes, and heavy black hair, put her head into the 
room. 

*' Miss Porrtia, arre ye's herre? There's a black 
nagur gurrel out by, settin' on me clane chair, wid 
'er two feet on me clane flurre, an' be the powers, 
whin I would tell 'er ye's were out waalkin' wid yer 
gran'fetherr an' it's takin' 'ersilf aff she'd betherr 
be, did n't she jist pit 'er basket doun, an' 'ersilf the 
same, an' 'It's stayin' herre I'll be,' sez she, 'fur 
I seed the young leddy an' the ould jintleman 
down bi the brranch yanderr,' sez she. ' Bi phwat 
brranch? ' sez I, ' an' surre w^harre else 'ould they be,' 
sez I, ' fer the woods is full of thim,' sez I, an' there 
she be 's this minut, an' she that black ye's 'ould 
smootch yer two hands wid the touch av 'er." 

" That 's the one we passed, then." Portia rose 
quickly. *' I slandered her, for she got here before 
us. Never mind, Maggie, the black won't come off,, 
you know that." 



2 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

'* More 's the pity, thin," said Maggie as they dis- 
appeared together. 

" The woods is full of them," said Mr. Ridgeway, 
smiling. " Well done, Maggie." 

*' Good faithful soul ! Portia has her strong Irish 
arm to lean on," said Mrs. Van Ostade. 

" I was surprised when Maggie announced her 
intention of coming with us," he replied. 

•* I was not; it would have broken her heart if 
Portia had left her. She has loved Portia since she 
was a baby, and seems to think she is a child still. 
She is in years, yet I have given every care into her 
hands ; she has gathered up the reins which fell from 
my useless ones. But, oh, I hate to see that money 
touched." 

" The money is nothing, Clara. The pity is deeper 
than that. What is her ability worth here? What 
can she look forward to? Where will it end? We 
have entered a narrow lane leading to a blank wall, 
with all the loveliest things of life, which should be 
hers, on the other side. Here I am stranded, too old 
to begin again ; it — it is — What have we come to? 
I can scarcely hold up my head under it." 

** No, father, you were brought to this, you did n't 
come to it. We must be watchful of her, and wait. 
A few years of struggle may only broaden and 
deepen her character. She has only lost worldly 
prospects and wealth as yet ; she is heart whole." 

A wide hall ran the whole length of the house, 
opening at either end on immense piazzas. Portia 
and Maggie traversed its whole length, passed out 
through the farther door, and entered the house 
again at the far end of the back piazza, where a long 



Chiaro-oscuro 29 

ell addition to the main part meandered a little dis- 
tance up the hill, forming a court-like square, open 
and sunny now, but later In the season shaded by a 
spreading, magnificent old locust-tree. This room 
In the ell was Maggie's own sitting-room, low, 
pleasant, and spotlessly clean. It was the pride of 
her big Irish heart. Here sat the young negress 
awaiting them. 



CHAPTER n 

THE RETURN TO OLD SCENES AND 
ACQUAINTANCES 

THE sun was setting. Its farewell glance threw 
a celestial glory over Patterson. The dingy 
station, the ugly boarding-house with false front, 
the store and barber's pole before it, the rude black- 
smith shed with creaking sign on which was painted 
an impossible horse, all were bathed in the same 
golden light that made splendid God's handiwork. 
The hills, the mountains, rising peak above peak, 
and the wonderful rocks, each from its own point 
of vantage sent back toward its Creator a portion of 
the radiance streaming over it. The miracle of the 
spring was being enacted anew in and all about 
Patterson. Trees stiffened and grew strong with 
sweet sap filling their veins, — - tender greens of 
hillside and woodland growing daily deeper and 
richer; all the charming phalanx of mountain 
shrubbery bursting into bewildering profusion of 
bloom ; ugly things becoming hidden by the 
young greenness of the earth ; old stumps by the 
roadside, decaying logs, and last year's dead leaves 
slowly, by their own death, nourishing the wild 
tangle of fragrance and color that covered them, 
being thus, in the lavish provision of nature, them- 
selves resurrected. The mountain streams laughed 
loudly in their opulence. 

30 



..•-'V 



Return to Old Scenes 31 

Up the long slope to the southwest crept the 
incoming mail-train, now seen turning an outward 
curve, now hidden by an intervening hill, — a live 
little, consequential demon, impudently puffing its 
hot breath toward heaven, trailing after it a long 
line of vaporous smoke, as if vainly trying to ob- 
scure the gorgeous pageantry of the western sky, 
in zealous self-assertiveness. Crawling cautiously 
over the long dizzy trestle, then darting on again, 
it neared the little station, gave two demoniacal 
shrieks that were caught up by the echoes of the 
hills, and paused a moment with insistent hissing 
while it emitted one traveller, a pair of completely 
collapsed mail-bags, and a trunk which was vio- 
lently hurled to the platform, as if those who handled 
it were trying to bestow on one poor box all the 
rough usage they would have given other baggage 
had they had it. 

The traveller, a young man, turned with a quick 
shrug as his trunk struck the platform ; the little 
train impatiently bustled off. A lank, leather- 
colored, disconsolate-looking mail-agent dawdled 
away with the collapsed bags, and the traveller was 
left sole mark for twenty or more pairs of eyes 
belonging to as many professional loungers of Pat- 
terson, who had been waiting for two mortal hours, 
with a patience born of inherited lassitude, for the 
evening mail, although they were well aware it was 
not due until six-thirty, and was usually late at that. 

Apparently unaware of their languid yet critical 
scrutiny, he walked around a moment, taking a 
general survey of the surroundings, then disap- 
peared in the little hole of a depot and began 



32 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

talking with the station-agent. The loungers ceased 
supporting their lank forms against the buildings 
opposite and gathered in knots, spitting tobacco 
juice and speculating as to the probable business of 
the stranger, his destination, and other questions 
concerning him, hard to answer without positive 
knowledge, but affording these meditative loungers 
endless opportunity for the exercise of their pecu- 
liar function. Presently the object of their curiosity 
appeared, and crossing the track with alert step, 
came toward them. His hat was set a little back, 
and his forehead, fair and open, showed a slight 
red line where it had pressed. His hair, damp with 
perspiration, was soft and curling underneath it. 
He approached one of the groups, and held out his 
hand with a pleasant smile to a powerfully built 
man, lean as Pharaoh's lean kine. 

" Mr. Patterson," he said. The individual ad- 
dressed started as if he were a huge dried specimen, 
well wired, on which the traveller was experiment- 
ing, and which was electrified and set into spas- 
modic, irresistible motion by the touch of that 
human magnet. His face expanded until the radi- 
ating wrinkles at the corners of his eyes deepened 
into folds and creases. He caught at the top of 
his trousers, jerking them violently up, grasped the 
hand extended to him in both his own, and moved 
it vigorously up and down. 

" Why ! Bless my soul, boy ! GenTmen, bless 
my soul! Ef here ain't ol'.Gen'l Marshall himself 
come tu life again. Gen'l'rpen, shore 'nuff." 

" Wall now, Mr. Marshall, the sight of ye is good 
foh sore eyes," said another. 



Return to Old Scenes 33 

" Sho'ly, we ah right glad tu see yu," said a 
small man, trying to reach over taller ones for a 
hand-shake. There was instant recognition of him 
on all sides. Only a few new-comers stood aloof, 
smilingly looking on. 

** John Marshall did ye say? Jes' give me a look 
at 'im now. I 'd give my eyes, what they is lef of 
'em, foil a look at Gen'l Marshall's boy." The 
speaker, an old man, limped from behind the 
counter of the notion store where he had been 
busied with a customer. 

" Here he is, Mr. Hackett, the same boy who 
used to run his hounds through your cotton-fields 
after rabbits. What a plague he must have been 
to you ! " answered the young man, turning quickly. 
He was shaking hands with one and another, calling 
each by name. 

" Ye don't seem to forgit none of us," said one. 

*' Oh, no. You have changed very little." 

" You '11 see changes 'nufif, I reckon, in them 'at 
was small fry when ye lef." 

" He only needs tu look at his se'f tu know that. 
Ye were only a striplin' when ye lef, and look at ye 
now, bless ye, yer own father over again." 

" I knew him," said the old man, — *' boy an* man 
I knew him. He saved my life jes' befoah he lost 
his own. The Unions was too strong foh us, the 
gen'l was orderin' a retreat, when a minie bullet 
tore th'ough this leg, and down I went right in the 
path of the cav'lry. Youah father reined up, and 
says he, ' Hackett, give me yeh hand.' I tell ye 
I grabbed foh 'im like despair. He hauled me over 
the horse in front of him, and took me to the shade 
3 



34 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

of a big hick'ry and give me his water-flask, and 
says he, ' There, He low. They 'U come foh th' 
wounded a'terwards ;' and there he was lying with 
the dead ten minutes later, was yeh father." 

" Thank you for telling me that. My father was 
my hero. You will tell me more of him sometime?" 

"We kin all take a turn at that," said the little 
man. 

" Gen'l'men," said fat Mr. Budd, putting his hand 
in his pockets and turning puffily to address the 
crowd, '' ah we-all treating the young squire jes' 
right? Walk in here an' take a drink all roun'. I '11 
Stan' treat foh th' crowd, gen'l'men, in honoh of 
young Squire John Marshall's return." 

"Naou, I reckon yu ah 'bout right thar, cunnel," 
acquiesced half a dozen, with languid alacrity. 

The sun had entirely disappeared, leaving the 
earth wrapped in still shadows of softly deepening 
blues and grays. The air of a spring evening in 
the mountains, delicious with subtle, delicate odors, 
swept past them all, and gently lifted John Mar- 
shall's hair. He was thinking of his father. Look- 
ing into the dirty saloon, a disgust seized him as 
he imagined himself there, drinking corn whiskey 
with these tobacco-saturated men. Old neighbors 
though they were, he knew them only through 
boyish recollections, as friends by force of circum- 
stances, not of his father's own choosing. Looking 
into their faces, kindled for him with kindly light, 
he shrank from giving offence, yet go in there he 
could not. He must do neither. His thoughts 
flew rapidly as he wiped the crown of his hat with 
his handkerchief. He had kindly feeling for them 



Return to Old Scenes 35 

all, for some even respect, yet there was that in 
himself which raised a barrier between him and 
them they might not cross. To drink with them 
and treat in return, would secure their friendship. 
To refuse might make some of them his lasting 
enemies. Should he pay for their drinks and 
excuse himself? His hand wandered to his pocket. 
He had never been impelled to do such a thing 
before in exactly this way. No, the whole thing 
was disgusting, he would risk it. 

His deliberation was but for a moment. " Your 
reception does me good, gentlemen. A young 
man could n't ask better of his father's old neigh- 
bors than the greeting you have given me. I am 
here to look after my mother's affairs, and will see 
you often, I hope, when we can talk over old times, 
but now I can't accept Mr. Budd's invitation. I am 
as hungry as if I had just returned from a coon 
hunt, so I '11 bid you all good-evening, and many 
thanks for your kindness." He took up his valise, 
and had entered the boarding-house before they 
realized that he was gone, and if they drank to 
honor his return they must do so without him. 
Since Budd's invitation was not repeated, they 
chose not to do so. 

" Young squire is mighty sudden,'* said that 
individual. 

" He 's not changed much, I reckon, alius was 
quick 'nd clever as a boy," said Patterson, pulling 
at the string of a dirty tobacco pouch. He took 
from it a portion of the contents, which hung from 
his thumb and forefinger stringily, like a limp 
little dead mouse, and dropping his lower jaw put 



36 when the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

the brown tuft in the cavern thus formed. When 
his mouth was again ready for words, some of his 
companions had dropped into the saloon, others 
were untying their horses, and all were talking of 
young John Marshall, and making conjectures con- 
cerning him and his mother, whom they had not 
even asked after, partly from delicacy, as they did 
not know whether she were living or dead. 

Mr. Hackett was wrapping up a card of white 
porcelain buttons for a stout colored woman. " Who 
was dat ah man I seed yu all talkin' tu as I come 
up? " she asked. 

" That was old General Marshall's son, Mr. John 
Marshall." 

" Laws naow, yu doan' say ! I nevah knowed de 
boy. He 's growed tu putty foh a man. I kin 
'membah him right well, ol' gen'l uset tu be my 
mars'r. Cl'issy, she'd give her eyes tu see him. 
I nuvah seed no body grieve like she done grieve 
foh dat boy. Come on, Jess." She took the hand of 
a fat, round-eyed little black boy and ambled away. 

When John entered the dusty little parlor of the 
boarding-house, he found Hanford Clark, the station- 
agent, waiting for him. 

" They have a room for me? Thank you. I have 
had a narrow escape. I might have been in this 
hole next door drinking corn whiskey, but I refused 
the treat, preferring a retreat." 

*' ' The Asylum for Aged and Decayed Punsters ' is 
near, did you know? " said his friend. *' I shall take 
you to it for a bad case to-morrow." 

" I am content, most noble Hanford ; yet prithee 
tell me, are poor travellers fed as well as housed in 



Return to Old Scenes 37 

this secluded wayside inn? If not, then I must needs 
eat thee, since I no longer can endure this fast, and 
since, forsooth, a poor and meagre meal were better 
than no meal at all." 

" Nay, gracious John, for soon you will be fed 
with corn meal. Other than corn meal is no* meal, 
and on it shall you feed three meals a day, like any 
other hog, until your soul shall utter this wild cry, 
' No meal for me to-day, thanks, no, no meal.' " 

" ' Et tu, Bruti? ' In vulgar parlance, are you also 
reduced to making puns? " 

'' It's catching. Well, old man, I ordered chicken 
to be served quickly (as it can be caught, killed, 
dressed, and cooked), hot corn bread, and a glass of 
milk. Black coffee at night is unhygienic. If you 
sleep after their hot bread and hog's lard, you may 
have it for breakfast." 

They were in the unlighted parlor, their chairs 
tilted against the casing of the open windows, 
through which the sweet, cool air — the only lux- 
ury the place afforded — was gently blowing. 
Presently a negro boy entered carrying an un- 
shaded kerosene lamp, which he deposited on the 
dusty table. 

'* De gen'l'man's suppah 's ready," said he. 

John rose to follow. His friend looked at his 
watch. " I '11 have your trunk brought over and 
landed in your room, and join you soon," he said. 

*' Hanford, you are the same kind, thoughtful 
fellow you were five years ago." 

The agent caught the young man's shoulder and 
turning him about, looked in his face. He was a 
trifle older, and taller, and the smile with which he 



38 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

regarded him was almost fatherly. " I have n't told 
one of these fellows here that I ever knew you," said 
he, *• so keep mum." A look of surprise flashed 
into Marsliall's face. '* It's all right, old man, we '11 
have a good chat as soon as I look after your trunk. 
I 'm riot due at the station for forty minutes." 

John swallowed his supper, with more impatience 
than relish. Although the milk was sweet and good, 
the corn bread was soggy, the chicken tough, the 
butter greasy, and the sorghum molasses contained 
two hapless flies. Because their misery jarred on 
him he released them from slow, saccharine death, 
placing them on a soiled spot on the tablecloth. 
The smoky lamp stood in dangerous proximity to 
the bread. He moved it, and happening to glance 
up (he had thought himself sole occupant of the 
room), saw in the obscurity outside the radius of the 
lamp a white jacket, a row of white finger-nails, two 
shining eyes, and a wide set of gleaming teeth. The 
small black waiter who had announced supper was 
silently grinning and watching him. 

" Hello, whose boy are you? " he said. 

" Ain' nobody's boy, sah. I jes' b'longs tu my 
own se'f." 

** Ah, indeed ! You are a fortunate little chap. 
Some people, you know, belong to the devil." Why 
John said this he could not have told. Perhaps 
something in the uncanny appearance of the little 
imp suggested the remark. The boy's grin grew 
wider. 

'' Yes, sah." 

" What's your name? 

*' Name Andy, sah,* 






Return to Old Scenes 39 

** Is that all the name you have, just Andy? " 

" No, sah." 

" Well, what's the rest ? " 

Andy's great eyes rolled toward the ceiling as if 
he expected to find the rest of the name written 
there. *' Name Andrew Jackson Franklin Abra- 
ham Lincum Wells, sah." 

** Spoken like a man; that's the way to tell your 
name. Andrew-Jackson-Franklin-Abraham-Lincoln- 
Wells. Peculiar combination." 

*' Yes, sah, dey jes' calls me Andy heah'bouts." 

" So you used to be one of old Colonel Wells' 
little niggers, did you ? " 

" Doan' know, sah." 

** Who was your father? " 

** Doan' know, sah." 

" Well, who was your mother? " 

** Name Linda, sah." 

"Linda what?" 

" Name Linda Angelina Wells, sah." 

" I guess you must have been one of the old 
colonel's little niggers, then." 

*' Mammy say as haow I nuvva did n' b'long tu 
nobody, sah." Andy spoke with some warmth. 
Evidently the mother had fostered the idea in the 
child's mind that he had been born free. 

Marshall smiled. In spite of his natural, inherited 
disbelief in the normal condition of the African race 
as a state of freedom, he respected the little rascal's 
pride in the thought of having been free born, al- 
though he was morally certain the boy's father was 
one called Unc' Jupe, whom Colonel Wells had sold 
off the plantation before the war to be rid of him. 



40 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

And Marshall was right. Andy's mother had added 

Abraham Lincum to her boy's already extensive 

name, in gratitude to the great deliverer of her race, 

after the child was old enough to steal hens' eggs on 

her old " mars'r's " premises, to go with their bacon. 

And Andy was right also. He had no recollection 

of either master or mistress, and belonged to no one 

on the face of the earth but '' he's own se'f." He 

was an anomaly and yet a type ; a type of a new 

race which had sprung up since *' de wall," a sort of 

^ ^-NjJtWtV ££tributive scourge to the Southern people for hav- 

. . J ing — not inlquitously, perhaps, but blindly — kept 

ii^^i %-» 1 ^ whole race of human beings in a state of rnoral 

.'>^.^ N- i ^"^ physical bondage and childish ignorancel^ 

fir NJ^N'tA!^* " Well, Andy, I won't dispute it, and here 's a 

^ ^ dime to help you take care of your precious 

possession." 

" T'ankee, sah." Andy clapped the dime in his 
mouth. 

Marshall rose from the table. At the door of the 
dining-room he paused a moment. "Andy, what's 
become of old Colonel Wells and the family ? " 

'' or Mars'r Gunnel daid, sah. Missy Gunnel, she 
mos' daid tu." 

'* Most dead ! what do you mean? " 

" She blin', sah, kyan see nuffin'. Mars'r Dick, he 
daown in Richmon'. Miss Angelina, she in Rich- 
mon' tu." The dime had loosened Andy's tongue. 
" An' Miss Katherine, she lib on de ol' place an' 
te'k kyah on ol' missy." 

"What's become of the young captain?" 

" Daid, sah. Miss Katherine she mou'nin' fo' him 
yit. She ain' du nuffin' but mou'n an' f^riebe. 



A 



Return to Old Scenes 41 

Mammy say she b'leebe Miss Katherine she gwine 
die yit wid dat griebin', she dat so'-ha'ted." 

A shadow crept over Marshall's face. As he 
closed the door, a woman met him in the hall 
carrying a lamp. 

" Good-evenin'," she said. '* Likely you are the 
gentleman who come in on the train. Your trunk's 
gone to your room, 'nd I was just goin' to take 
up your lamp." She stepped forward, expecting 
him to take it; but he moved aside, allowing her 
to pass. 

" Thank you, I was looking for some one to show 
me my room." 

The woman was tall and stout, and walked with a 
heavy rolling gait. She eyed the young man over 
the top of her glasses from head to foot. " They 
tell me you used to live here," she said. " Well, 
I 'm sure you 're welcome back, but it 's a poor 
place to make a livin' in. I come f'm Ohio my- 
self, 'nd goodness knows I wish 't I 'd stayed there. 
Patterson is the slowest place 't I ever did see. 
Budd, he makes all the money they is here in 
his saloon. They ain't nobody here but what 
drinks." 

Although tired, sad, and nervously irritated by 
her loquacity, Marshall answered pleasantly, — 

*' I never lived right here exactly. Patterson was 
not in existence when I left." 

" You don't say. Well ! And where have you 
been livin' all these years? " 

" In San Francisco. I have an uncle there." 

'' So ! And your paw is dead. Your maw, is 
she dead too? Where is she?" 



42 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Marshall winced. Her strident voice rasped on 
him. '* My mother's home is in Cuba. She spends 
her winters there." 

" You don't say ! Well ! And where does she 
spend the rest of her time? Is she comin' back 
here too? " 

'^ I hardly think so." He ignored the rest of her 
question. She rolled on a step or two. He thought 
the catechism ended, when she faced about with a 
new question, — 

*' Who was your paw? I must 'a' heard tell o' 
him, all the years I been here, ever since they run 
the road through. I was one o' the very first 't did 
come, 'n' I'm sure I wish 't — " 

** My father was General Marshall," he replied, 
shifting impatiently from one foot to another. 

** You don't say ! Well ! I have heard tell o' 
him, sure enough. He owned all the land here- 
abouts, 'nd all Patterson too, they tell me. Well ! 
You don't say ! " She rolled on a step and stopped 
again. *' I suppose your maw must 'a' sold all this 
'ere land to the railroad. How much 'd she get fer 
it, think? They tell me the house 's been took by 
some Chicago folks 'nd turned into a board'n'-house. 
Well ! I guess they '11 make a lot keepin' boarders 
here, that 's what — " 

" Pity my soul, madam, are you never going to 
show me my room? I mean — Beg pardon," he 
added, recoiling from his own rudeness. " If you 
will give me the lamp and direct me, I won't trouble 
you." 

" Oh, that 's all right. Guess I better go ahead 
'nd light th' way." She gathered her skirt in one 



Return to Old Scenes 43 

hand and began climbing the stair without delay. 
** Step a little careful here, this step 's broke 'nd 
may give way," she panted, as Marshall stumbled 
on in the shadow of her broad figure. "That's 
your door, firs' to th' lef. I hope you '11 sleep 
well," she said, standing puffily at the top and 
pointing into the obscurity. "I'm sure I do the 
best I can fer my boarders, if they ain't nothin' 
in it, nd — 

"Thank you, thank you." Marshall took the 
lamp and moved on in haste, to check further con- 
versation. As he pushed open the door, " firs' 
to th' lef," it crowded against something piled 
against it. 

" Hello, come in. Never mind obstacles," cried 
the voice of his friend from within. 

Marshall wedged the door open about a foot, 
thrust the lamp through first, and edging in side- 
ways, stepped over a pillow and confronted Hanford 
seated on the edge of the empty bedstead, with a 
feather in one hand and the lamp without the burner 
in the other. 

"What's all this?" said John, surveying the dis- 
ordered box of a room. " Holding high carnival 
all by yourself in the dark? " 

" Light enough to serve my purpose, and I 'm 
through now. I'm saving you a little annoyance, 
my boy." He threw the feather out of the window, 
and taking the burner which lay on the sill with the 
dripping wick hanging outside, proceeded to screw 
it on the lamp, which he lighted and placed on the 
cluttered little washstand. Seeing John still hold- 
ing: his with a dazed air, he took it from him, cleared 



44 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

another space, and set it down also, talking in a de- 
tached way as he worked. 

** Sit down and take it easy a minute while I 
straighten things up," he said. " Finding your 
room inhabited, I began a work of extermination. 
You '11 find blood-suckers enough without sleep- 
ing with them. Coal oil is a good thing applied 
liberally with a feather, although the odor may 
not rival that of violets in spring. My first night 
here at Scrapp's was a memorable one. Before 
the moon silvered the mountain tops I rose and 
pitched every shred of my bedding out of the win- 
dow, and spent the * wee sma' ' hours tilted back 
in one of these rickety chairs, reading my Bible. 
Smile ; that 's right, smile ! You looked like a 
whipped dog when you came in. Was n't the 
supper to your taste? It's not bad reading; be- 
sides, I had nothing else to do for five good hours, 
unless to stand around and swear. Help a fellow on 
with those springs. Steady there. If we drop them, 
old Scrapp will be up to see if we 're both drunk. 
He does nothing for the place but confer his sug- 
gestive name on it. His wife does the work. She 
ambles about, making the best of things. Never 
said a word about where she found the beddine 
next day, and the place was so thoroughly scrubbed 
I did n't have to repeat the performance for a 
month ; but nowadays I don't trouble her, I work 
the thing with a kerosene lamp and a feather." 

" Only you would have thought of this. You are 
your old self, Hanford Clark." 

** Now my housework is done, I have just twenty 
minutes for gossip," said Cla^k ; " then I must be on 



Return to Old Scenes 45 

duty, — there's an eight-o'clock freight, — so fire 
away." 

" First then, why in Heaven's name must n't I 
speak of our friendship?" 

" Because I have not, that is all. You wish to 
untangle things peaceably; take my advice. Give 
me the cold shoulder in the presence of your father's 
old neighbors. Moreover, if your life in San Fran- 
cisco impregnated you with Northern ideas, drop 
them for a time or you will bring up against a wall 
of quiet opposition that even your father's repu- 
tation will not take you over." He paused, and 
Marshall was silent. 

" Two years have given me some experience. 
The first station-agent being a Southern man, they 
naturally thought he was ousted for me. I have 
lived down that odium now, however ; at least, the Pat- 
terson faction treat me well. They rather favor the 
company. You see, they received a good price for 
their land, and your mother was to have had the same 
price for hers, but her lawyer here, I. M. Monk — " 

"What! Does mother still keep Monk? I al- 
ways — Beg pardon. Go ahead." 

"That's all right. Say on, anything you please." 

" I am surprised. She knew I disliked the man. 
Mother has been reticent about business until she 
wrote the letter that brought me here. Even then 
she did not mention Monk by name. She used to 
detest Yankees, but she is shrewd. She knows they 
are good business men, however obnoxious they 
may be otherwise." 

" I can give you the ins and outs of the matter. 
She has left you too much in the dark. You are 



46 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

at a disadvantage. It was this way. The land- 
owners between here and Milton wished the com- 
pany to put the road through Pine Gap, to open 
up their property there for sale, and Monk hood- 
winked them into sending him to negotiate the 
business for them. Then the old fox persuaded the 
company that they would save fifty miles of steep 
grade if they put the road into Milton from the 
north, building that trestle you went over just this 
side of Carlton, and skirting the French Broad. So 
they did, and left Pine Gap forty miles off the line 
of travel. Never went near the place." 

''What was that for?" 

" He schemed the whole thing out to bring his 
own land over in Broadgate into the market. He 
owned a thousand acres there. Moreover he 
screwed a bonus out of every Broadgate land-owner 
who made anything out of the transaction, and 
worried another big payment out of the company 
on your mother's property, in consideration of his 
services, (1 would look after that if I were you ; I 
doubt if she ever received a cent more than the 
original price), and sold his own land at an immense 
profit." 

'* Where does Patterson's quarrel come in in all 
this?" 

" He agreed the whole of Blue Hill here should 
be made over to the company for a mere nominal 
sum, as a site for a hotel to bring travel to the road, 
in consideration of their making that detour around 
by Broadgate." 

" But, as I remember it, the Chaplains owned 
that." 



Return to Old Scenes 47 

" They own one half and your mother the other. 
He has been disposing of her property as he Hkes, 
and teUing her what he pleases. The Chaplains also 
own land at Pine Gap, and Jud swears his half of the 
hill shall never be owned by a set of ' damned thiev- 
ing Yankees ' until they pay his price, which he has 
put at enough to cover the worth of this and all his 
Pine Gap property put together." 

" How on earth did Monk ever bring about the 
agreement between Chaplain and the company in 
the first place? He had only authority over 
mother's part." 

*' He trapped Chaplain first, by talking about 
getting the road through Pine Gap. Oh, he 's 
smooth as grease." 

** Why can't Chaplain be brought to terms then?" 

'' He employed a lawyer from the city, and be- 
tween them they found a way out of the bargain." 

** Well, some of the heaviest stockholders are San 
Francisco men, as you know, and Uncle Darius has 
set his heart on having me build that hotel, and I'll 
do it." 

" He 's one of the largest owners, but that must 
not be known here ; you never will build it if 
it is." 

" First I '11 dismiss Monk and then see Judson and 
get him interested pecuniarily." A look of doubt 
passed over Hanford's face. Marshall smiled. "It 
can be done," he said ; " it's got to be done, that 's 
all." 

'' All the Pine Gap faction are down on Monk. 
They 'd pitch him off his trestle into Mill River if 
they could," said Hanford. 



48 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

*' Naturally ; but I fail to see how all this necessi- 
tates my giving you the cold shoulder. I can't do 
it, old fellow." 

*' The whole facts of the case necessitate it. We 
are all in the same rank hole. Monk is a Northern 
man, and his meanness and double dealing have 
brought distrust down on us. He has the hatred of 
the whole community here, and of course some 
of that odium falls on me. Since I am well posted, 
and an employee of the company, if you seem con- 
fidential with me, they will distrust you. Now you 
are one of them, which is to your advantage." 

** I see," said John. 

" Here 's another complication. An especial 
election comes off soon, to fill the place of circuit 
judge. As all the places interested in the road 
squabble are in the circuit, there is war to the knife. 
The Broadgate faction have succeeded in getting 
Monk's name on one of the tickets, and if he has 
the negro vote he stands a good chance. He is top 
of the heap in Broadgate, is a great swell there, 
and sticks at no kind of wire-pulling; is engaged 
to Senator White's daughter, and all that sort of 
thing. She is an old-maid, as raw-boned as he is, 
but he wants the office. The other party, as I hap- 
pen to know, have some bulldozing scheme on foot, 
and naturally they look on every Northern man 
as a spy on their actions. Judson Chaplain is their 
candidate." 

** Monk 's a rascal," said John ; " I '11 settle him as 
far as mother's afi'airs are concerned." 

" Take my advice, and be prudent," continued 
his friend. '* Strike up a casual acquaintance with 



Return to Old Scenes 49 

me after a while. In the mean time, be sure I '11 
serve you in any way in my power." 

" You are an out-and-out true friend, Hanford — 
you always were. I '11 do as you say, but it 's 
mighty hard on me." 

'' You won't find everything on such an easy foot- 
ing as when you were a boy." 

" Oh, no, but, then, everything is in such a con- 
founded mess here in the South. \A/Iiatjdght_iisye yi^y"'^ Q 
the negroes to the ballot anyway? Children hand-^ -^^ ,rJL», 
ling edged tools, no more fit to govern themselves I -^ 
than that mule out there by the fence, nor as much." / 

Hanford Clark burst into a laugh. " No need 01 
an}" suggestions from me, I see. You '11 pass with 
this crowd. How came they here in the first place? 
Of their own free will or through stress of circum- 
stances? (Mild way of putting it.) What right 
have they here? Have they any rights? If not, 
why not? " 

*' Oh, come ! we can't argue, Hanford. We were 
always cats and dogs on this point. We know each 
other's arguments as we know our grammars. It 's 
right here that the trouble lies. While they were 
kept where they belonged there was no difiiculty. 
We needed them, were even fond of them, petted 
them, and all that sort of thing ; but given absolute 
freedom, turned loose like a pack of wild colts, 
given power to govern us perforce when they 
never knew how to take care of themselves, I don't 
wonder. It is too much to be borne. I know it 
was only war policy at first, but now to submit to 
such a state of affairs is madness, that *s all, — sheer 
madness." 
4 



50 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Look here, my man, affairs have changed down 
here. Ten or twelve years makes a big difference. 
You will find the negroes better prepared to handle 
the ballot than a lot of your ignorant whites up 
North are. They are pretty intelligent. They con- 
fide in the Northerners here and get a fairly good 
idea of the political issues. Even those who can't 
read — " 

" Yes, I see. Men like Monk prime them up. 
Fine confidant he is for them. I guess a little 
wholesome bulldozing would be a good thing for 
the whole set of white scoundrels as well as black. 
There, old man, don't let the glow die out of your 
face in that way ; I love to see it if it does shine on 
the wrong side, — the shadow side, so to speak." 
They were silent a moment; then Marshall added, 
" Maybe you are more in the right than my preju- 
dices will let me believe." 

Clark laughed, and looked at his watch. "You 
think you are right in these arguments of ours, and 
I know I am ; but you know how to be generous, at 
all events, and so ^stand that much ahead of me in 



an argument." 



John sat lazily tilted back in his chair, his hands 
clasped behind his head. His friend rose and paced 
restlessly about the room. " The same old stride," 
said John. '' How did you ever blunder into such 
a place and position as this? The company is 
looking up a little in the matter of employees. A 
college-bred station-agent, and — What are you 
ruminatincr about now ? " 

" I must go," said Hanford, looking absently at 
his watch again. He opened the door half-way, 



Return to Old Scenes 51 

shut It, and walked over to the window, where he 
stood with his back to his friend. " You have 
given me no news yet of your mother. Does she 
come North this summer?" 

"Yes; she is in New York by this time. She 
wrote she should sail two weeks ago." 

"So early! Alone?" 

** No ; Marguerite is with her, of course." Han- 
ford shifted himself uneasily, and began pointing 
a pencil with his knife. Marshall was not looking 
at him, and went on wearily : " She could n't live 
without Marguerite, and yet the child is heartless, 
perfectly heartless. Mother seems wrapped up in 
her, though." 

" She seemed to me to have heart enough, and a 
good one at that." 

" A perfect little demon when she can twist a 
man around her finger. Mother would have had us 
tied together three years ago if she could have had 
her way. You knew we were engaged ; but that 
was mother's doing, not mine." 

" I knew. Your mother told me." Hanford 
turned half round, and gave his friend a keen 
scrutiny, still occupied with his knife. John talked 
on. 

" I had a few words with the midget, and she con- 
fessed she did not care for me any more than she 
did for an old shoe, nor as much ; for an old shoe 
was comfortable, and when I taxed her for pretend- 
ing to care, she admitted she did it to have peace at 
home, and to — as she said — 'keep other frauds at 
bay.' " 

" But your mother said you were devoted to her." 



52 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I was, — am still, for that matter. I would gladly 
see her married to my dearest friend if I thought 
he could manage her. We agreed amicably to 
break the engagement and keep it to ourselves 
until they were back in Cuba, when she was to 
break it to mother, as she said, ' little at a time.' " 

" And do you mean to tell me you never have 
had a pang of regret at such a denouement?" 

" Never since we settled it to both our hkings, but 
many a one before." 

Hanford's eyes shone with a peculiar light as he 
regarded his friend. " I wonder if I am a fool ! " 
he said quietly, shutting his knife with a sharp click. 
Marshall looked up in sudden surprise. The in- 
coming freight whistled the same instant as it neared 
the long trestle, and Hanford was gone. 




CHAPTER m 

PAST AND PRESENT 

JOHN MARSHALL rose, and shook himself 
impatiently. "Straws," he muttered. "So 
that 's the way the wind sits. Poor fellow ! He 's 
too good for her." He moved restlessly about, 
then stood staring out of the window. " She '11 
make a fool of him. I can't interfere. If I write 
mother to leave her in New York, she '11 be dead 
set to start for Patterson on the next train." He 
whistled softly a minute, then threw up the window 
as far as it would go, seized his hat, and passing 
out of the room, turned the key in the door. He 
felt his way along the upper corridor, and by the 
feeble light of a lamp in the hall below found his 
way out into the night. 

The train was thundering up to the station, and 
Marshall turned toward the silence of the hills. A 
moment he looked off on their softened outlines, 
in the bewitching moonlight, to get his bearings. 
'* The blacksmith shop stands just as it used," he 
thought, " but all this other trash has beerTUumped 
here since. Even Hackett's store is new. Well, so 
wags the world ; every man for himself, and all for 
the shillings." 

He turned down a familiar road, walking aim- 
lessly, drinking in the sweet cool air, which scarcely 
stirred the leaves. Faintly in the distance came 
the cry of a whippoorwill, sharply answered from 

53 



s-^' 



54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

a great gum-tree over his head. He looked up, 
feeHng the impulse of his boyhood to throw a stone 
into tile tree to discover the bird's whereabouts, and 
saw the moon looking down through a network of 
branches from the crest of a distant hill. ** She 
seems to touch the earth," he said. 

The road made a sudden turn down a declivity 
of broad shelving rocks to the ford below, and he 
heard the sound of the stream mingling with the 
noise of frogs and the chirping of tree-toads. He 
stopped on the footbridge to listen, and dropped a 
stone into the water which sent back the sparkle of 
a thousand gems. His heart expanded under the 
influence of this sweet solitude. This was a part of 
his boyhood. Why had he never visited it in all 
these years? Why had he ever left it? 

" There 's a deep pool behind that boulder where 
old Alexander gave me my first lesson in fishing. 
I wonder if he 's still alive." He threw a stone 
toward the great rock. It splashed into the water, 
and instantly the noise of the frogs ceased. 

"They've been croaking there all these years," 
he said. The moonlight spread broadly over the 
little bridge, leaving one end in dense shadow where 
Marshall leaned on the railing, completely hidden. 
Suddenly the sounds of horses' hoofs and men's 
voices broke the stillness. 

** 'T ain't no use s'arch'n' these parts, he 's highah 
up th' maount'n. Black devils! Thar's plenty 
ut'll hide 'im." 

" Naw, he's feared o' th' maount'n. They're 
pizen on him thar. He '11 make fer th' low country 
'nd git cl'ar that-a-way." There were four riders. 



Past and Present 55 

They stopped in the stream to let their horses 
drink, and Marshall recognized one as the man he 
had greeted earlier in the evening. 

'' Patterson don't go much on a niggah till he gits 
a fa'r chance tu shoot 'im." 

" Yas, we-all takes a lively int'rust in a niggah 
these days when we kin let daylight into 'im." 

'' Wall now, they is some good uns," said a little 
man perched on a tall, raw-boned horse. *' Thar 's 
that ar Josephus, he's stiddy an' hones', but they 
all needs a mastah ovah 'em. I alluz was fa'r, even 
tu a niggah. All they need is tu be kep' whar 
they belong." 

As they dashed away past the place where 
Marshall stood screened by the shadows and veil 
of wallow branches, Patterson's horse shied violently. 
*'Whoah thar," he shouted, and turning fired his 
revolver into the bank above John's head. '* I 
reckon thar 's a niggah creepin round thar ut's 
skeered 'im. I 'd put a bullet through every durned 
black hide in th' country 'f I hed th' chance." 

John Marshall shuddered and walked out into 
the moonlight, feeling as if he had awakened from 
an ugly dream ; but he sauntered on. One sensa- 
tion would be all he could reasonably expect to 
experience in one evening, and he would not be shot 
at if he kept in the light where he would show for a 
white man. Although shocked, he smiled, thinking^ 
of the time when " niggers " were too valuable to be 
shot at, at random. A man would as soon think of 
shooting at his blooded mare in sport nowadays, 
as he would then of hazarding a shot into a thicket 
at a " nigger." 



56 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 



"That is like Patterson," he thought. *' Cool 
and daring, but a good friend withal. And the 
little man is right; under masters they did well 
enough, but in these changed circumstances they 
must be insufferable." 

Like the jack-rabbits and gophers of California, 
the negroes were well enough when they committed 
no depredations ; when they did, it was quite proper 
to hunt them down. There were too many of them — 
more than were needed. The small man on the tall 
horse seemed to have on an official coat and manner. 
Marshall wondered what was up, as he sauntered on, 
mechanically taking the road which led past his 
boyhood's home. How familiar it all was ! Every 
gnarled old gum-tree and boulder brought back to 
him events of those free and happy days. 

" It is not so long ago," he thought. Even the 
wagon ruts seemed the very ones the loaded 
tobacco wagons cut then, as the negroes, whistling 
and cracking their whips at the mule teams, wound 
their way to the next town. Some of them were 
trusted to do all the business of selling the long 
train of loads in their charge, even bargaining for 
the price and taking the money home. ** Shoot 
one of those niggers down in the dark? Not much," 
he thought. There was old Thomas, the preacher 
at the negro quarters, black as ebony, noted for 
honesty and good sense. He was his master's 
best friend in one sense. He married John's 
mammy, but that was before John could remem- 
ber. She often told him about how they were 
married by a white minister, and they were all given 
a holiday ; how " mars'r " was away at the time, and 



Past and Present 57 

how he swore when he returned and found her mis- 
tress had made her marry old Thomas during his 
absence. 

John thought of his sh'ght, dark, imperious 
mother, reigning as queen in the old home. All 
the servants feared her. The piccaninnies dodged 
round doorways and corners at her approach. She 
seldom had them punished, but they feared her 
nevertheless. Only Mammy Clarissa seemed to be 
without this fear. She waited on her mistress day 
and night without complaint, yet never seemed sub- 
missive. She was tall, fairer than her mistress, and y 
wore always a silk turban and white gown. Her 
step was long and rapid. She moved easily, but 
with the sudden directness which indicated under- 
lying force. Always quiet and inscrutable, her 
expression seldom changed ; only when he was tired 
and crept into her lap in the twilight, she laughed, 
and rocked him in her arms, and told him stories of 
the time when she *' war a liT gal, an' her mammy 
war mos' like her." She told him of a great city 
by the sea where she had lived, of the ships, and 
the moonlight on the water, and the songs of the 
negroes rowing boats full of pleasure-seekers past 
her " ol' mars'r's haouse " in the summer evenings. 

*' I war right happy den, honey, right happy," 
she used to say, '' a-rollin' on de grass an' a-listenin' 
tu de watah. 01' mars' uset tu go dar eve'y y'ar 
w'en de long hot days come. Missus she uset tu 
sit in de po'ch an' sing tu ol' mars'r in de dark, w'en 
I war li'l' gal." 

In the years that had passed, it was Mammy 
Clarissa's caresses he remembered more than his 



58 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

mother's, and yet she never had seemed to him 
to be exactly a human being, as he appHed that 
term to his mother or himself. She was his father's 
chattel, no more, no less. As a child, he loved her 
with a child's delight in her affection and caresses ; 
as a man he thought of her kindly, and wondered if 
she were still living. 

" I must hunt her up, if she is, and give her some- 
thing. Faithful old soul ! " he said. 

She had a boy of his own age, he remembered, — 
a pale, lithe imp, with eyes as black as sloes, wilful, 
always getting into scrapes and domineering over 
the other piccaninnies. His mistress petted him, but 
his mother paid no more attention to him than to 
any other of the swarming raft on the place. She 
never allowed him in the house. " Yo' stay dar 
wha yo' b'longs," she would say when his black 
eyes peered into her face from some doorway. 
This boy had been John's own little body-servant, 
playmate, and scapegoat, as prolific in mischievous 
schemes as his young master was daring in carrying 
them out. Clarissa had a younger boy, black as 
the ace of spades. John wondered what had be- 
come of him. He thought of the numerous house- 
servants, the loquacious old cook, the little " house 
birds," who " toted ashes, fotched vvatah," and loi- 
tered on all the numberless errands of the house- 
hold. He smiled as he thought how their black 
legs would fly and the white soles of their feet 
twinkle, as they darted away from the kitchen door, 
with a splint broom scudding after, hurled by the 
irate cook for some impudence from their " sassy 
maoufs." 



Past and Present 59 

He thought of Alexander and his tribe of assist- 
ants. Every servant of importance had corps of 
under helpers being trained and " fotched up." He 
thought of the mellow voices of the field hands sing- 
ing together in the quarters on just such moonlit 
evenings as this. He was never allowed among 
them unless accompanying his father on his rounds 
over the plantation when his political duties per- 
mitted his being at home, but they were fond of the 
young master, who sometimes dispensed their semi- 
annual allowance of rations and clothing, adding 
thereto small gifts from his own pocket money. 

** I wonder if I could remember them all ! " he 
said, counting them off by their names and nick- 
names. Ah ! the busy old place in those days 
teemed with exuberance of life. 

Although happy, his boyhood still lacked in 
some part that which childhood should have to be 
looked back upon with tenderest, sweetest memories. 
He was fed, petted, and indulged by Mammy 
Clarissa and the household servants, and reproved 
by his mother for his misdemeanors. Hospitality 
reigned in the home. Distinguished political friends 
of his father's came for a week's relaxation, or a 
day's sport, and in summer his mother's Cuban 
relatives and friends thronged around her, and all 
was gayety and life. 

How well he remembered loitering about the 
piazza, watching the languid, dark-eyed ladies in 
their full luminous silks and soft muslins, fluttering 
their fans, and chatting in low tones, sometimes in 
French or Spanish, but oftenest in English made 
soft by their melodious drawl. There their partners 



6o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

came for them for the dance, or sat beside them 
smoking; there wines were served by hthe young 
negresses. How he loved the merriment and badi- 
nage, and the soft sweet odors that filled the evening 
air from waving fans and overhanging vines of jas- 
mine and honeysuckle ; and now the negroes were 
scattered, and the old home left to run wild and 
drop into decay, and at last turned into a boarding- 
house ! " Why did mother ever sell that one spot, 
of all others?" he said. '* She had no need of the 
money." 

Suddenly he stood listening. The sound of a 
voice, a sweet high soprano, rang out on the still 
air, full, clear, penetrating the wide reaches of space, 
as if searching the listener. Ah, the charm of that 
woman's voice ! He lifted his head and gazed about 
in bewilderment. Was he there, at the old place ? 
There was the arching gateway casting a circular 
shadow at his feet, the curving drive, the fountain 
playing as of old, the shrubbery run wild and 
tangled, but still there. He peered about in the 
moonlit darkness, and lingered while the music 
floated out to him through the open windows. The 
singer was rendering an aria, florid and difficult. He 
had heard it before, but here, in this place, lonely 
and forsaken, how incongruous ! Thrilled with the 
outpouring of melody and rhythm, he walked nearer 
and nearer, drawn by the magic of the voice and the 
hour, and finally sat down on the edge of the basin 
of the old fountain. 

The song ended, and a soun'd of children's voices 
and laughter came from the open door. Had the 
old times returned? But none sang thus in those 



Past and Present 6i 

days. This must be some Northern guest. The 
children ran out into the moonhght. A man's 
voice called them to come in. *' Where is the 
nurse? Where is Mary?" said the man. ''These 
children ought to be in bed." They ran in again, 
and Marshall felt as if being shut out from his own 
home as the door closed after them. He rose to go, 
but again the voice of the singer filled the air, and 
he sat down, with his head between his hands, and 
listened. A merry little English ballad, and a cradle- 
song, dulcet and mellow ! Marguerite sang them, but 
not in this way. Not jike any instrument were the 
tones, — only a woman's voice, incomparably sweet 
and J ijgnder. Song followed song. Twice more 
he rose, and twice remained. " To-morrow I will 
find out about her," he said. At last the voice w^as 
still. The lights disappeared one by one from 
the windows. He hurried away, but the voice re- 
mained with him. All night long it haunted his 
slumbers. 



CHAPTER IV 

OLD FRIENDSHIPS 

JOHN MARSHALL was awakened next morning 
by a glare of sunlight streaming through the 
open window. The air was fragrant with bloom. 
A bird sang its ecstasies in a bush outside. He lay 
still and listened until, in his dreamy state, the voice 
of the evening mingled with the song, and the deliri- 
ous bird-notes resolved themselves into arias and 
plaintive cradle-songs, and again a woman's voice 
seemed to take up the notes and warble them like a 
bird. Suddenly a gong was struck under his win- 
dow, and with that hideous sound, the odors of 
sausage and vile coffee pervaded the room. He 
dressed hurriedly and tried to form a plan for the 
day's action, but every scheme seemed to turn on 
discovering the owner of the voice. 

" I am growing fairly sentimental," he said. 
** She may be the mother of those children, and 
forty at the least." He smiled, and a crooked little 
mirror sent back a twisted reflection of himself with 
a diabolical grin. 

There were few boarders at Scrapp's and the 
dining-room was nearly empty. During his hurried 
breakfast his loquacious landlady regaled him with 
an account of a murder, news of which reached 
her through the posse who had breakfasted there 
early that morning. 

62 



Old Friendships 63 

** Do' know what ever is goin' to become of this 
place," she said. " Thievin', moonshinin', murderin' 
killin' lot they be. I 'm sure I wisht I was back in 
Ohio myself, where folks know how to live decent. 
There 's that old Toplin woman up the mountain, 
she 's been murdered, they tell me, found her in the 
branch where she done her washin' with her throat 
cut 'nd her clo'es torn half off'n her, 'nd every single 
thing in the cabin smashed to pieces, 'nd they 'low 
it 's the nigger 't worked for the old man 't 's done 
it, fer they found his striped jail clo'es in the corner 
o' the cabin, 'nd the old man's clo'es gone." 
*' Where is the old man? " 

" He's in the penitentiary servin' out a term for 
moonshinin', 'nd the nigger was took up when he 
was, but they tell me the nigger's got out, so 
they 're after him fer the killin', 'nd when they git 
him they '11 hang him, sure." 

Marshall hastened out into the bracing morning 
air. Although early, there was considerable stir in 
the little place. Men were gathered in front of 
Budd's saloon talking in low tones, and another 
group lounged in the post-office. He glanced about, 
and seeing the barber's pole near by, and also the 
sign " I. M. Monk, Attorney at Law," a few steps 
farther, he turned his steps in that direction, avoid- 
ing both groups of loungers. Monk had heard of 
his arrival and was expecting him. He sat at his 
desk, his hat drawn down to his eyebrows, a pen 
over his ear, a toothpick between his teeth, and a 
pile of papers before him. He rose instantly, as 
Marshall entered, extending a bony hand. The 
lower part of his face smiled broadly, while his eyes 



64 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

scrutinized his visitor from under his hat rim. He 
was bland and alert. 

" Ah, Mr. Marshall, glad to see you, glad to see 
you indeed. This is a surprise. A little cool this 
morning. Come over by the fire. I must have a 
fire. I have a fire right up to midsummer. Can't 
stand the cold here in the mountains." 

He placed a chair for Marshall near a rusty little 
cracked stove in which a feeble fire was burning, 
and seating himself still nearer, with his elbows on 
his knees, he stretched his wiry hands toward the 
heat, alternately opening and shutting his fingers as 
if he were grasping at something. 

John felt in no mood for elaboration, and hurried 
through his interview with the agent with what 
seemed to that individual scant ceremony in his 
dismissal, and set off to look up some of the old 
neighbors whom he used to like in his boyhood. 
Chief among them was the family of old Colonel 
Wells. Andy's words of the evening before, *' Missy 
Cunnel mos' daid tu," came back to him. " I will 
go to them first," he said, rubbing his chin. It was 
rough, and returning to Scrapp's he gathered up 
his shaving-tools and proceeded to the sign of the 
striped pole. Chas was busy. A young surveyor 
from Asheville was in the chair who rolled his eyes 
abnormally to get a look at the new-comer without 
moving his head. John walked to the window 
and looked out on the street. He saw Patterson 
and another man ride over the brow of the hill and 
gallop rapidly down the street, stopping in front 
of Hackett's store. The proprietor came out and 
the three men held an animated conversation, 



Old Friendships 65 

Patterson gesticulating violently with his long arms, 
and firing tobacco juice right and left. Budd joined 
them from his saloon, and others gathered. It was 
about ten in the morning and the professional 
loungers were all on duty. Patterson drew a revol- 
ver from his hip pocket, and Marshall shuddered. 
The barber touched him on the shoulder. 

" Now, sail, de gen'lem 's done gone, sah." He 
turned and recognized the speaker. 

" Why, Chesterfield, is this you? Don't you know 
me?" 

The pale yellowish face of the barber lighted with 
a pleasant smile. '* Sho' now ! I jes' reckon, sah ! 
I done hyeah'd yo' come home 'gin." 

" You are a fine strapping fellow too. All set 
up in business here?" 

" Yas, sah, I 's fixed right smaht, I reckon. Dis 
heah is mighty fine razor, sah. Is yo' gwine bide 
'long o' we-uns? Dis place lookin' up a heap in de 
las' yeah. Heap o' gen'lems draps in now long 
back." 

Marshall inquired after the hands on the old 
place, learned of the whereabouts of Mammy 
Clarissa and Josephus, and having set Lord Chester- 
field's tongue wagging, the shaving began. Chas 
was an expert at his trade and deft. He had not 
hung about the place, as did most of the negroes 
after being set free, but with more than their usual 
enterprise had worked his way to Raleigh, and there 
learned the tonsorial art. Although a great dandy, 
he was of an acquisitive nature and had soon saved 
up enough to set up his own pole in Patterson with 
the modest announcement, " Tonsorial Parlor. L. C. 
5 



66 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Marshall, Artist and Proprietor." The male inhabi- 
tants used the gay pole as a mark for well-aimed 
shots of tobacco juice, and the first few months of 
the " artist " in his parlor were a dismal failure ; but 
he continued to strut among the colored population 
as ** cock o' the walk," and relished the distinction 
of being the only travelled and well-informed speci- 
men of their race too well to be easily dismayed. 
His well-saved earnings, being spent only on him- 
self, lasted, eked out by the occasional patronage 
of strangers, and he lived well and dressed smartly. 
Beside his trade he had acquired the accomplish- 
ments of reading and writing after a fashion, and he 
loved to sit in his window in plain sight from the 

street, as he perused the columns of the *' Asheville 

C>> 
ourier. 

A few arrivals on the morning train were driven 
off in the equipage belonging to the new boarding- 
house. Old Alexander, with a revival of former 
dignity, looked neither to the right nor left, yet con- 
trived to keep an eye on the bronze urchins who 
clustered round the carriage, cracking his whip at 
their bare brown legs, '' tu larn 'em day mannahs," 
if they ventured too near. Marshall, emerging from 
the tonsorial parlors, saw him drive off, and recog- 
nized the grave, withered little face with a certain 
pleasure. He resolved to visit the old home, even 
if it cost him a few pangs, for the sake of this faith- 
ful old man. He thought of the singer of the even- 
ing before, and his resolve was strengthened. 

The crowd had now collected in Budd's saloon. 
Marshall heard loud voices as he passed, and caught 
a little of the talk. One man, perched on the coun- 



Old Friendships 67 

ter, taller, lanker, and if possible yellower than the 
rest, appeared to be giving a detailed account of the 
last evening's search. 

** He 's layin' low som'ers hyarabouts, an' th' var- 
mints are givin' 'im victuals," he said. " His maw 
'lowed 't she never knowed 't he was out o' jail. 
Said 't she seed a white man round thar in jail 
clo'es. Laws ! They '11 lie faster 'n a hoss kin run." 

" Yas, they is tu many niggahs alive." 

John passed on. It was warm, and he mopped 
his forehead with his handkerchief, and removed his 
coat. '* I'll have a saddle horse if there 's one left 
in the country," he said. Men, horses, even the 
very dogs, seemed to have undergone a deterio- 
rating change, as well as the younger growth of the 
negro population. He wondered if there were any 
ladies left in the land. 

Miss Katherine was in her garden among the 
lilacs. A sturdy little negro girl trudged after her, 
carrying a waterpot full of water. She spoke to 
the child in a gentle drawl that was musical and 
sweet, — 

*' Gertrude, stop slopping watah ev'y step yue 
take. Yue ah making the path right muddy." 

Had Miss Katherine possessed the means, her 
home would have been filled with works of art, and 
every object which refinement and exquisite good 
taste would suggest. As it was, having no other 
outlet for her passionate love for the beautiful, her 
sweet soul gave itself to the cultivation of flowers 
with a devotion that was pathetic, — her flowers and 
her blind old mother. With barely means for their 
daily necessities, and no hope to shed brightness 



68 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

over her future, she awaited the yearly resurrection 
of her flowers with intense delight, as each unfolded 
itself, a new creation, with the advancing season. 

" Here, Gertrude, mind now, yue due step all 
ovah. Watah those Sweet Williams I set out last 
evening. They ah hanging down like they wanted 
tue be back in their old bed. This ribbon grass is 
growing ovah the bo'dah. I promised Miz Chaplain 
some. Yue take it tue her aftah lunch, and mind, 
Gertrude, due yue heah ? " 

'' Yas, 'm." 

" Yue hand me the trowel. Ask Miz Chaplain 
tue come ovah tue lunch to-morrow. Ma gets so 
lonesome. But there, yue '1 fohget, yue need n't 
ask her anything, I '11 write a note. There 's ma's 
bell, put down the watahpot and run. Run, child, 
yue ah so slow. Don't step all ovah the bo'dahs." 

The path from the grass-grown roadway was long 
and winding. John caught sight of Miss Katherine's 
slight, black-robed figure among the bushes, and 
walked rapidly toward her. The lilac blooms 
nodded as he brushed past, and the slender leaves 
of the corn lilies rustled, but she, buried in her vast 
black bonnet, stooped over the ribbon grass, unaware 
of his approach until the gate, swinging slowly 
back, clicked behind him. She rose quickly, 
and regarded him a moment with a bewildered 
look on her thin, fine face, while she brushed 
the dust mechanically from her slender hands and 
her dress. 

John smiled down upon her with head uncovered. 
She looked so frail. Was this Miss Katherine or 
her wraith? A moment they faced each other thus. 



Old Friendships 69 

then the light of recognition dawned in her face, and 
she took a quick step forward. 

" Due I really see John Mahshall? " she said. 

** Yes, Miss Katherine." He took both her hands, 
looked in her eyes, and then with a boyish impulse 
of reverence and affection, pushed back the ugly 
bonnet and kissed her on the cheek. Although 
twenty years his senior, a faint flush crept over her 
face. " I wanted to make sure it is really you and 
not your ghost," he said., 

" Yue ah the very same boy, if yue ah grown so 
tall and grand like yuah fathah. Where have yue 
come from?" She led him to a seat under a 
branching chestnut. He remembered the seat and 
the tree. Her heart gave a little flutter, and she felt 
faint as the past rushed before her in a flood of 
painful recollections. She removed the obnoxious 
sunbonnet, and dropped her hands in her lap, 
" Donald is gone," she said. 

*' I know," he said, and was silent. They did not 
look at each other for a few minutes, and two large 
tears left her brown eyes and dropped on her folded 
hands. She wiped them away, and two more fol- 
lowed. John shifted his position uneasily. Had 
she been his own little older sister, or his little 
" Aunt Katherine," as he had called her when he 
and Donald were boys, he could have taken her 
in his arms and kissed them away. The wholesome 
impulse to give comfort possessed him, but how 
could he? He took one of her slight, worn hands 
between his own and stroked it gently. Ah ! when 
he saw her last those hands were soft and white, and 
almost plump. They had rested in his curls, and 



JO When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

touched his boyish cheek. She was a lady then. 
What was she now? Toil had hardened her 
hands, sorrow had aged her face, and Donald — 
Donald was gone, — the only boy friend he had 
ever had. 

** Yes, Miss Katherine, I know. The merry heart 
of life has gone out, gone with Donald and the rest 
of the brave fellows, and you are here alone with 
your mother." 

*' Ma is blind." 

" Yes, I know that too. But things are going to 
change. New life will come in. There is a little 
stir already." 

" Dick and Angeline come home every summer. 
Ma looks forward to that the whole year through, 
but Dick can't stay long when he does come; his 
practice is large. They ah in Richmond. He 
neva' has married, neitha' has Angeline. She is 
a right good housekeeper." 

Miss Katherine's speech was slow. Her sweet 
voice lingered over the long vowels and treated 
the r's with true Bostonian slight. 

" I always liked Dick, but Donald was my hero," 
said John. 

** Almost every one yue used tue know is gone. 
Oh, some of the old folks ah left, like ma and me, 
and Mr. and'Miz Chaplain, but their boys ah moved 
tue Pine Gap. A few of the old fine families ah in 
Asheville duing something foh a living, and some ah 
clean died out o' killed off, and theih fine places 
sold o' run tue waste. The fine horses were rode 
into the ahmy, or taken by the Unions, none were 
left foh the growing up boys tue due with o' 



Old Friendships 71 

handle, they were obHged tue leave the country tue 
live. The old folks that stay on like we due, barely 
live on what they can get the niggahs tue raise. The 
niggahs ah good foh nothing, — the young ones, — 
and the old ones ah feeble now. Have yue been tue 
the old place yet ? " 

*' I only walked past it after sundown. They 
seemed to be having a good time. Some one was 
singing — a lady." He placed Miss Katherine's 
hand back in her lap, and rising paced the path in 
front of the seat. *' Yes, evidently a lady," he said. 
** Have you met them, the present owners?" 

*' I did n't go foh a right good while, then Dick 
sent one of his patients there, and wrote me tue call 
on her, and I did." She paused, watching the young 
man restlessly striding up and down. *' I due wish 
ma could see yue," she said at length. " Yue ah the 
very image of yuah fatha' and yue ah right hand- 
some tue." 

John laughed. He sat beside her again and took 
her hand as before. " You look at me with different 
eyes from most people," he said. " You know how 
I loved Captain Donald, and you let a 'little of your 
feeling for him color your thoughts of me; but 
although I don't deserve it, I hke it, Miss Katherine. 
I wish — " He hesitated. 

" Where ah yue stopping? " she asked. 

" At Scrapp's." 

*' Oh, John ! That horrible place ! Come here 
and stop. We-all can't due foh yue like we used 
tue, but ouh doahs ah never closed tue old friends." 

" Will you let me come as you would Dick or 
Donald, were he here now? Will you let me pay 



72 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

my way and be no burden to you?" he asked 
eagerly. 

She drew away the hand he had taken, and a 
shadow crept over her face in a crimson flush. 
'* I neva' meant so," she said. " We neva' have 
kept bo'dahs, ma and I. We neva' could due 
that." 

*' Why, no, of course ! " he exclaimed instantly. 
*' I only meant — " He hesitated. *' I can make it 
right some other way," he thought. " But there ! 
It is like you to take pity on me in that way. I 
need it too. It is a confoundedly dismal place 
there." 

Miss Katherine rose, and stood before him, slight 
and straight, her head lifted like a queen. " Yue ah 
General Mahshall's son," she said. ** Youa rightful 
place is with youa fatha's old friends. Ouh grand- 
fatha's came tue No'th Carolina from Virginia to- 
getha' and bought their plantations joining, and 
lived and died as friends. Ouh fatha's fought in 
the same ahmy, and died on the same day, and 
were always like brothahs, and youa rightful place 
is heah. Yue bring youa boxes this evening, and 
Donald's old room is youas. Come in now and 



see ma." 



John's eyes glistened. He felt like kissing her 
again. " I will do what you say," he replied, fol- 
lowing her to the house. " I will obey you as I 
used when a boy. I believe you were the only 
being I ever did mind implicitly in those days." 
They both laughed. 

"Yue and Donald did have right good times/* 
she said. 



Old Friendships 73 

Her mother sat in a large cushioned chair by an 
open window, where the honeysuckle and matri- 
mony vines floated in, with her hands folded in 
her lap, and her eyes closed. 

*' Ma is asleep," said Miss Katherine, softly. 

*' No," said the old lady, sitting erect. " Who is 
with you, Katherine ? " Her eyes were turned toward 
them. John never would have thought her blind 
but for a turn of the head as if she were listening 
rather than seeing. 

John came close to her chair. ** It is the boy 
who used to come to your house with Donald and 
turn everything topsy-turvy, who wore your wed- 
ding-dress in a pantomime, who used to play ghost 
at midnight to frighten the negroes; the boy who 
used to drop in on you at five in the morning 
from a coon hunt, draggled and tired and hun= 
grier than the coon himself, because he did not 
want to go home and be reprimanded by his 
mother. Have you still a warm place for him in 
your heart? " 

She rose, trembling a little. '* I know the voice," 
she said, " but it is not the boy's voice, it is the 
voice of his father." 

" It is John Mahshall, ma," said Miss Katherine. 

" It is the general," said the old lady. 

John took one soft hand in his, and she passed 
the other lightly over his face and through his hair, 
then sank back in her great-chair and covered her 
face with her hands. 

Katherine placed a chair for their guest. " Why, 
ma," she said, " ar'n't yue going tue give John a 
welcome?" 



74 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Clever Katherinc ! She knew how to keep her 
charge from sad thoughts, by rousing her to her 
duties as hostess. These duties, with loving tact, 
she had never usurped. She would manage the 
house, would labor, contrive, and save, but it was 
the mother who received and entertained, and led 
in conversation. The delight of being herself the 
hostess, so dear to woman's heart, was never taken 
from her. Now she put aside the recollections that 
overwhelmed her, and spoke again. 

''For your own sake, John, for your father's and 
Donald's, you are thrice welcome. Are you near? " 
She touched the arm of his chair. '* It is useless 
to mourn, or wish to see you. It is a pleasure to 
hear your voice, and if you resemble your father 
as much in your appearance, it is as if I saw you." 

Her tongue was not so strongly tinctured with 
dialect as was her daus^hter's. 

*'Do you remember father so well?" 

"As if I saw him an hour ago. You must be 
like him, though your hair curls closer and thicker. 
Are your eyes blue? " 

John laughed and turned to Katherine. '* They 
are party-colored ; one is blue and the other half 
brown," he said. 

" Oh, I had forgotten that, but it is not so notice- 
able now," said Katherine. 

" I had not," said her mother. 

With a quiet smile of understanding with Mar- 
shall, Katherine left the room. She went to look 
after the lunch. Her mother heard the latch click. 
'' Katherine," she called. 

*' Yes, ma," 



Old Friendships 75 

" Give John Donald's old room, daughter," 

" Yes, ma." 

** And, Katherine," her mother lifted her voice a 
little, but she was gone. 

" Shall I call her back?" asked John. 

" No, she never makes a mistake. Now," she 
turned her sightless eyes on him as if she would 
look him through, — *' Now, John, tell me about 
yourself. Is your mother living?" 

'* Indeed yes, and a lively little mother she is. 
She does n't grow old. She flies back and forth 
between New Orleans and New York, — always 
takes Marguerite with her. She loves society, the 
theatre, and gay times as well as Marguerite does. 
During the severest weather she goes to Cuba, and 
protests she loves Cuba best of all." 

" No, she will never grow old until she drops 
into the grave," said the blind woman, placidly. 
** Yet she is older than I. Who is Marguerite?" 

** She is mother's ward. Mother is the only one 
living who is any kin to her, except me of course, 
in a very distant way. She is an heiress." 

" Tell me about her." 

*' Mother loves her dearly." 

" Ah, but tell me about her," persisted his old 
friend. " What is Marguerite like?" 

"Like?" he laughed. ** I really wonder what 
she is like ! She is called beautiful, — artists 
say so. I don't care for that dark style. She is 
not tall, but she is a shapely little thing, and she 
has dimples and pretty little perfect teeth. Her 
eyes would be called black if they were not so 
large. Oh, I can't describe her. She is, frankly, 



76 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

the most fascinating little piece you ever looked 
at, though." 

His companion laughed. *' I think I can help 
you," she said. " She has a little flush in her cheeks, 
and her mouth is full and inclined to pout, but 
beautiful, nevertheless." 

** Oh, yes, of course she is beautiful, she must be." 

" And her hair is luxuriant, and curling, and black 
as night." 

** Not curling, straight as an Indian's; but she 
dresses it charmingly." 

** She is not as beautiful as her mother, T judge." 

** You knew her mother? But of course you 
must have known mother's friends. I have lived 
so apart from her that they are mostly strangers 
to me." 

** Ah, yes." The old lady's face brightened ; she 
was living again some of the scenes of her young 
womanhood. " She was the loveliest woman I ever 
saw, — a little Cuban of very aristocratic family. 
She spoke little English, and talked with your 
mother in Spanish. A young Scotchman, a friend 
of your father's who used to visit at our house, fell 
in love with her, poor fellow, and wooed her per- 
sistently with his great blue eyes. I shall never 
forget their love-making. He tried to learn Spanish, 
and she spoke to him in the prettiest bad English. 
They were married at your father's house, and he 
took her to Scotland, but the climate there was too 
severe for her, and he carried her back to Cuba, 
bringing her here every summer. But he could n't 
keep her. She died, leaving him only the little 
Marguerite and a broken heart. I have held her 



Old Friendships 77 

baby in my arms many a time, but she can't be as 
beautiful as her mother." 

'' Marguerite has been sadly spoiled," said John, at 
length. " She was educated in a convent until she 
was seventeen, and since that time mother has 
petted and indulged her atrociously. You must tell 
me about my father, Mrs. Wells. I know too little 
of him. He was such a busy, absorbed man, as I 
remember him." 

" A busy man, year in and year out. He was 
for waiting and maintaining peace, but when the war 
really came he was one of the first at the front, 
strong for our Southern principles, stanch and 
true. A more gallant soldier never wore our 
uniform." 

" And I left home before that, and never saw 
father again. Why did he send me to Uncle Darius, 
I wonder? I might have entered the army with him. 
Many a boy went at fifteen, and I was well grown. 
Mother never was pleased that I was sent from 
home." 

" Your father did what he thought best for you. 
The war did n't break out until a year later, but he 
had begun to fear it, and spent that whole year in 
Washington. He hoped it might be averted. He 
spent a day with us just before his last battle. I 
heard him say to the colonel, — my colonel was at 
home with a wound — " She paused a moment, and 
then resumed : ** I heard him say, ' My boy is safe, 
thank God, and in good hands. If I never come 
out from our next engagement, there will be no more 
need of me in the world. We are certainly leading 
a forlorn hope.* He was sad that day. Two weeks 



78 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

later he lay on the field, shot through the heart. 
The colonel died on the same day, but that was 
different. He died in his bed, with Katherine and 
me by his side. Your father had no one; but 
then — " She was silent again. John went to the 
window, and pulling a sprig of honeysuckle tore 
it to bits. ** No," she continued, ** your father 
knew best. War is terrible. God save us from it 
forever. You would have been an added burden, 
and he had enough. We could scarcely feed our 
troops, let alone clothe them." 

Katherine came in with a pretty flush in her 
cheeks. '' Come tue luncheon," she said cheerily. 
'* Ma, bring John out, please. Gertrude, step spry 
now; yue ah so slow, child." 

Marshall lingered after lunch, chatting with the two 
lonely women, and then left promising to return in 
the evening. 

"Gabe shall go tue Scrapp's foh youa boxes," said 
Katherine. " He 's a no 'count niggah, like all the 
young lot, but we keep him foh his ma's sake. She 
takes on so when we make out tue discha'ge him." 



CHAPTER V 
THE NEW BOARDING-HOUSE 

PORTIA VAN OSTADE stood in her mother's 
room arranging her tumbled hair. Her hat 
was thrown carelessly aside and her cheeks glowed 
with exercise, but she seemed excited and nervous. 

"Portia, you are overworking, I see it," said 
her mother, anxiously. " Lie down on my bed, 
child." 

Portia gathered her long hair deftly in one hand 
and drew it to the crown of her shapely little head. 
" No, mamma deary, I am just frightened a bit, 
that 's all. Now don't worry. I '11 tell you about 
it. I took those napkins to old Clarissa to mend — 
and, by the way, don't let me forget to tell you 
what happened while I was there; I will tell this 
first — and coming home I went down under that 
old bridge by the mill for ferns to decorate the 
dining-room with this evening. You remember 
there are great shelving rocks piled up on one 
side; well, all at once my heart gave a thump, 
right in my throat, and I felt such a queer creep- 
ing sensation all over me, as if some awful thing 
were near; and I looked up, and right above me, 
crouching in a kind of cleft of those rocks, was the 
wildest, wickedest looking creature I ever saw, 
peering down at me. He was a negro, and he held 
a stone as large as my head, as if he were going to 

79 



8o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

hurl it at me. I couldn't scream, I just stood still 
and looked into his terrible bloodshot eyes, and he 
looked at me. Everything was so still, as if there 
were no one in the world to help me. I dared not 
move, lest that should break the spell and he would 
throw; but he must have been listening, for there 
came a clatter of hoofs over the bridge, and he dis- 
appeared into the gray rocks as if he were part of 
them. Then how I screamed ! Then Josephus, 
who did the teaming for us, looked over the bridge, 
and called, ' Hi, Miss Po'tia, dat yo' done hollah .? ' 
It all happened in a moment, but it seemed an age 
of agony. Even when he called I could n't speak. 
He came down and took me in his arms, and car- 
ried me bodily up that steep path and set me on 
the bridge, and then went back for my ferns — 
good-hearted fellow ! — I have them in water, a 
great tubful. He left his mule at the mill and 
came all the way home with me. He has gone 
back for it now, and will ride into Patterson and 
tell the sheriff. He said, ' Dat Pete Gunn, sho', 
wha' done kill de ol' woman up de mountain.' " 

"Now, Portia, this is wrong. Do you never go 
alone again in this awful country, where murders 
are committed in broad daylight." 

" Oh, that was away off in a lone place in the 
mountain, mamma." 

" It was done, Portia, and you must take some 
one with you when you wish to go off on your 
tramps." 

"Very well, I will invite one of the boarders. 
Usually some would like to go, — or I can take 
Lucyleese. " 



The New Boarding-house 8i 

" Lucyleese ! That child would be of no service 
in the world. You should take Alexander. " 

" She has a screech that would scare the breath 
out of a — a — ' squinch owel, ' as she calls it, and 
then she is great fun ; only I do love to be alone 
sometimes these busy days." 

"Then you must lock yourself in your room, 
where you will be safe." 

Portia laughed merrily. " Go off and have the 
sulks like a baby," she said. "But don't be 
troubled; I promise not to do this again." She 
patted and poked the fluffy mass of hair rolling up 
from her forehead, scrutinized the newly adjusted 
coiffure in the mirror, turning her head this way 
and that like a bird preparing to sing, then dropped 
at Mrs. Van Ostade's feet, and laid her head, care- 
less of consequences, in her mother's lap. 

The invalid stroked delicately her daughter's 
forehead and cheek and full white throat. 

, " Oh, mamma, your magic hand ! It brushes my 
nervousness away. I am sure he would have killed 
me if Josephus had not come ; but now I am going 
to tell you something pleasanter, only a little sad 
too. Old Clarissa was showing me her keepsakes, 
which she had so carefully put away, that she said 
her * young mars'r had given her befo' he went 
No'f to lib wid he's paw's twin brudder, ' when a 
nice young man came to the door and stood a mo- 
ment, and then walked in, and seeing me stopped 
again. She looked at him, and you know she is 
lame and slow, but all at once her face lighted up 
with an expression — well, such as she might 

wear in heaven, and she hobbled a step forward, 
6 



§2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

and then dropped her cane and held out both 
arms toward him and fell. She had fainted. In 
trying to catch her we both sprang forward into 
each other's arms in a way that would have been 
funny but for our anxiety." 

" You always see funny things at the most appall- 
ing times." 

"I know. It's dreadful. 'The step from the 
sublime to the ridiculous ' is one of the figures in 
my dance of life. Is that the Dutch in me ? Was 
papa like that .-* " 

"Yes, very like. But go on." 

"Where 's grandfather.? " Portia started up with 
a frightened look. 

" He is with Mrs. Percy and the children, and Alex- 
ander is driving. You are all unstrung, child." 

"No, mamma; but the same thing might happen 
to him, only worse." 

" You must neither of you go about alone, or 
any one." 

"When that murderer is taken, it will be all 
right. There is no more peaceful place." 

"Go on, dear, don't leave Clarissa on the floor 
any longer." 

" He took her up as tenderly as if she were his 
mother, and would have laid her on the bed she is 
so proud of, but that would have broken her heart ; 
so I had him place her in her large chair, and he 
tipped it back while I brought water and bathed 
her head. 

" ' She used to be my mammy when I was a 
child,' he said; and then I knew who he was, and 
told him where I lived, and when she was herself 



The New Boarding-house 83 

again I left. Poor old woman! her look into his 
face was pathetic. * I done waited fo' yo' home- 
comin' mighty long time, honey, an' now I done 
los' yo', sho',' she said. * Yo' look dat like yo' 
paw, w'en he young man an' come an' paid de 
money fo' me an' tuk me home dat time, like he 
done come back he's own se'f I declar' ; hit nerved 
me so, hit tuk my strenk cl'ar 'way.' Oh, 
mamma, what an awful thing slavery must have 
been ! Do you suppose he saw it as I did ? " 

" I assume not. The values of life are all 
changed, sometimes, by education." 

"I wonder if his ideas would be more like ours, 
being educated for the most part in the North," 
said Portia, dreamily. " I wonder — " She stopped. 

"What are you wondering, daughter.-* " 

" I was only thinking. I often wonder about 
those who lived here then. If his mother is liv- 
ing, what would she think if she should come and 
find her old home turned into a boarding-house and 
kept by Northerners .-* She used to perfectly hate 
us, of course." 

" She might think us low-bred, and treat us 
accordingly." 

"Dear little mother," said Portia, laughing, and 
kissing her. 

As Portia entered the huge old dining-room with 
her guests that evening, she looked with a shud- 
der at the ferns she had arranged so charmingly, 
but she told no one of her adventure, and showed 
no trace of a2:itation save in her heis-htened color. 
Her few guests were all pleasant and congenial. 
Thus far her venture had not been disagreeable. 



84 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Mr. Ridgeway remarked on the chill in the room, 
owing to the brick floor. " I believe these bricks 
gather dampness," he said. 

"Won't you light the fire, grandfather?" said 
Portia. Materials for one were laid in the great 
fireplace, built of red brick like the floor. " It is 
pleasanter, and mamma is coming down." 

Mrs. Van Ostade's chair and cushion were placed 
at the table nearest the fire, where Portia sat at the 
head. Mr. Ridgeway took the head of the other 
table, while Portia poured the tea for both. With 
Portia were Mr. and Mrs. Percy and the children, 
and a much travelled, silky-haired artist from New 
York; a middle-aged woman of means, from Chi- 
cago, and her daughter, also middle-aged; an 
elderly gentleman of wealth, whose gallant and 
open admiration for Portia embarrassed her and 
amused the rest; and a merry little Englishman 
travelling for pleasure. It was surmised, in con- 
fidential aside to the elderly gentleman by the 
lady from Chicago, that he was really looking up 
some fabulous mine for some equally fabulous and 
monstrous London syndicate. 

At Mr. Ridgeway' s table were two young men 
with work-stained hands and ruddy, open coun- 
tenances. They were starting a peach plantation 
on a mountain-side. Enterprising and strong, they 
carried an air of good cheer which was not lost on 
the sensitive nerves of their host. With them were 
seated Mrs. Barry and her four-year-old daughter 
and a nurse, and gentle, elderly Miss Milbourn, 
who wore a lace cap and had a sweet matronly air, 
and her younger friend, Mrs. Clare, who had come 



The New Boarding-house 85 

to the wilds of North Carolina to battle alone with 
an inherent taint of consumption. These and a 
serving-maid constituted the dramatis persoiics of 
the dining-room. 

Mrs. Barry was of German descent, with large 
bright eyes and luxuriant dark hair, worn low on her 
shapely head, in a heavy, loose coil. Her clear, 
ringing voice was loud, but not unpleasant. As she 
settled herself voluminously at table, she snatched 
up three letters addressed in the same hand, and 
waving them triumphantly over her head, cried : 
" Ha, ha ! What did I say ? Three ! Some awkward 
delay in the mails has brought these all at once, 
but I knew they would come. He always writes 
every day. Was there ever a husband like mine.-* " ■-"' 

"One," said little Mrs. Clare, timidly, display- 
ing a bulging envelope addressed in a heavy square 
hand to Mrs. La Mott Clare. 

"Only yours puts several letters in one," said 
Miss Milbourn, gently. 

"Ah, but that is not like being thought of every ^r^M Z ^ 
single day, you know," said Mrs. Barry, content- ,y^?^^ (^ 
edly turning her attention to the large slice of roasts 
before her. ^- 

" Portia, where did you find these lovely ferns? " 
said Mrs. Percy. 

"Think of it," said Mrs. Keller, the middle-aged 
lady from Chicago. " Such large growths at this 
season ! " 

"Think of it," said the middle-aged-looking 
daughter, who always echoed her mother, "and 
at this season too ! Why, the snow is hardly off 
the ground with us." 




86 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I found them under the bridge by that tumble- 
down gristmill where the negroes take their 
corn," said Portia. 

** I have it in one of my sketches," said the artist. 

"Oh, the one you showed me yesterday," said 
Mrs. Barry. 

"No. That is a sawmill, and has an undershot 
wheel, not nearly so picturesque." 

"Yes," said Portia, "the overshot wheel is better 
to sketch. It 's clumsier and more primitive." 

"But when it comes to business, it's a pretty 
slow affair," said one of the enterprising young 
men. "Ever see the miller?" 

"Yes," said Portia. 

" He 's a queer chap, — slow as his mill." 

" He keeps something there beside corn meal," > 
said the other young man, with a laugh. '^^-**'^ ^-^^vv 

"Ah," said the elderly gentleman, smiling, "you 
have means of knowing.^ " 

" I tracked a few old codgers there and made a 
discovery. He 's in with these mountain fellows. 
He 's a sharp one, — innocent as a baby." 

"Richard has mistaken his calling," exclaimed 
his partner. "Raising peaches on a mountain 
hasn't enough variety in it to suit him." 

"What! Are there real moonshiners here."*" 
cried Mrs. Barry. 

"And w'at might they be, — moonshiners? " in- 
quired the Englishman, Mr. Betts. 
' "Illicit distillers," replied Mr. Ridgeway. 
" Some of these mountaineers make corn whiskey, 
and smuggle it on the market without paying 
government tax on it." 



The New Boarding-house 87 

" Ah, I see. So they do that here. It certainly 
is interesting to know." 

" You must not give Mr. Betts such information, 
grandfather," said Portia. "He may write a geog- 
raphy for little English children, and tell them the 
principal industry of the mountainous regions of 
the United States is illicit distilling of whiskey." 

" Oh, now, you are rather 'ard on me, you know, 
I must say." 

"No, Mr. Betts' book will be on geology," said 
Mrs. Keller. " You should have seen him unload 
the stones from his pocket this afternoon." 

" You should have seen him, " echoed her daughter. 

"Do you find any ore, Mr. Betts .^" queried the 
artist. 

"Not to speak of I 'ave n't, but they tell me this 
is the oldest rock formation in the world, you 
know, and it is interesting to trace the history of 
the place in the stones. And they do tell me 
fossils 'ave been found here, w'ich is strange, very 
strange, you know, and I find a curious mixture of 
vitreous and volcanic rock, plainly volcanic, to- 
gether with stratified rock of a water formation, 
and limestone character, you know. Now, 'ow 
came these all to be so thrown together, so far 
inland.?" 

" Ah, you must answer that, Mr. Betts ; we cer- 
tainly can't, not I at least," said the elderly 
gentleman. 

"Your question will hardly be answered for a 
generation to come, I fear," said Mr. Ridgeway. 
"This region affords an interesting field for nat- 
uralists, I think." 



88 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"It is as full of poetry as it is of scientific 
interest," said the artist. "We who look on the 
externals of things find nature glorious here." 

"I think," said Portia, refilling the artist's cup 
with tea, "the hardest things to reconcile with 
each other are just simple, plain facts. The 
scientists are continually stating facts, and then 
overturning them with other facts, and then find- 
ing still others that clash with these, and all seems 
out of tune, and still the turmoil goes on, and 
there is no end." 

"You are right, Miss Van Ostade," said the 
artist. "Your profession and mine are, after all, 
the only ones that search out the harmonies. The 
realm of Music and the domain of Art, they are 
really one." 

"But mine is often out of tune, though," said 
she. 

"Not when you are its exponent, Miss Van 
Ostade, never," said the elderly gentleman. 

Portia shook her head, laughing. Mrs. Keller 
exchanged glances with her daughter. Mr. and 
Mrs. Percy were privately discussing the unde- 
sirability of allowing the children the full bill of 
fare, and lost this bit of table talk. The old maid 
looked up and spoke in her quiet voice. 

"I think herein lies an evidence of the Omnipo- 
tent mind, overruling and controlling, bringing 
harmony out of these stubborn facts; so that Mr. 
Held exclaims, ' This region is poetic, and nature 
is glorious,' and Miss Van Ostade can order the 
sometimes discordant waves of sound into such 
perfection of harmony and melody that we delight 



The New Boarding-house 89 

in it. Harmony and beauty are part of the facts, 
or we should never find them." 

Mrs. Percy's face lighted up. "Miss Milbourn 
touches the keynote of the universe," said Mr. 
Ridgeway. 

" And where there is a keynote there may be 
harmony," said she. 

Poor Johnny Percy, who had been denied his 
dessert and had only a few nuts in his chubby fist 
to crack at his leisure, yawned audibly. Miss 
Milbourn laughed. 

"Why, Johnny!" said his mother. 

" ' Ard nuts to crack, aren't they, little man.?" 
said Mr. Betts. 

" Naw. I can do it; take a stone," said the 
imperturbable youngster, gravely wondering where 
the laugh came in. 

"That's what I 've been trying to crack them 
with, and failed," said the Englishman, slapping 
his knees heartily. 

"That's right, sonny, stick to nuts you can 
crack and you '11 get on," said his father. 

"But don't use your teeth, child," said his 
mother, as he set a filbejij: between his sturdy little 
jaws. 

A clang sounded from the great brass knocker at 
the front door as they rose from the table, — an un- 
usual event of an evening. The neighbors, in their 
kindly Southern way, had begun to show the family 
some attention ; but as the neighbors were far be- 
tween, their visits were generally in the afternoon. 

"I wonder if Miss Van Ostade is to have a caller 
this evening," said Mrs. Keller in an aside to her 



90 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

daughter, as she shook out her heavy silken skirts. 
The trim waiting-maid was handing her mistress a 
card. 

They all swept out of the dining-room, up the 
broad stair, into the long, dimly lighted hall. Mr. 
Betts pranced at the head, with little Juliet on his 
shoulder, followed by the screaming children, and 
Mr. Ridge way, with his daughter on his arm, 
brought up the rear. A blazing fire of logs and 
pine branches in a huge red brick fireplace filling 
one end of the great old-fashioned drawing-room, 
threw ruddy, quivering light over cracked walls, 
and plain, comfortable, modern furniture. Mrs. 
Clare seated herself at the piano and played a 
lively galop. That and the dancing firelight 
wrought a contagion of merriment, and in a mo- 
ment the party, old and young, were flying over 
the smooth walnut-colored floor in time to the 
music, while peals of hilarious laughter from the 
children re-echoed through the vast empty halls. 
Portia entered a small, firelit room opening from 
the other side of the hall, used by the guests as a 
reading-room. Here she found John Marshall 
awaiting her. 

" I have hastened to accept your invitation to 
call," he said. 

"Ah, how good of you!" She hesitated, flush- 
ing slightly. Why had she said *' how good"? 
she thought; "he will mistake my meaning." 
She hastened to explain. " Of course, everything 
is so changed, I feared — I thought — even if it 
might be painful to you, you might like to see 
the old place again." 



The New Boarding-house 91 

"Please don't think it is the place only I come 
to see. After our odd meeting this afternoon it is 
yourself." He also spoke a bit nervously, and not 
as he had intended, and hastened to add : " I wanted 
to thank you for your kindness to old Clarissa. 
She was one of the few faithful servants in the 
past." 

"She certainly is loyal to your family. When 
did you return to Patterson, Mr. Marshall ? " 

He laughed. "Return to Patterson.? I protest. 
I have returned to the soil on which it stands, and 
to these grand old hills. There was no Patterson 
in my day here. " Portia sat gravely looking into 
the fire, and he watched her face a moment as the 
light played over it with rosy tint, and resumed : 
" I arrived at dusk last evening, and to-day have 
been roamino; about seeking old friends. It is as 
you say, yet everything is not changed ; the everlast- 
ing hills are unchangeable. I had forgotten how 
beautiful they are, if I ever knew. Boys don't think 
deeply on the beauties of nature, you know. " 

Portia's face lighted with a smile. She looked 
up, and their eyes met. " Perhaps you are one of 
those happy natures who never look wholly on the 
dark side," she said. "But, speaking of changes, 
I was thinking only of this particular place, — your 
old home." The smile faded as she spoke, and 
she looked gravely into the fire again. John was 
charmed with her every movement, but in his 
heart he vaguely wondered who the singer of the 
evening before might be. 

"Then I shall disappoint you," he said. "I am 
very prosaic, or — what shall I call it? — lacking 



92 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

in sentiment toward this old place. There were 
others, one in particular, — I visited it this morn- 
ing, — which I used to love more than this. It is 
very shocking, I know, and shows a hardened and 
villanous nature, but true it is. You must re- 
spect my candor, if not my heart, when I tell you 
that I came here this evening with a feeling of 
expectation and pleasure in the — pardon me, I 
won't tell all my thoughts, but among them was no 
regret. As I walked up the drive, I thought only 
in a vague way of the changes, as that this was 
gone, or that grown past recognition, and since 
you have set the fountain playing, the sound of 
dropping water is as sweet as when I used to sit on 
its edge with a row of mischievous piccaninnies and 
stir up the gold fish. It is a pleasure to find the 
house occupied and serving some useful purpose, 
instead of falling farther into decay." 

Portia burst into a merry laugh. 

"Now, Miss Van Ostade, that is not fair. I 
was willing you should be shocked, but to laugh — " 

" Indeed, I am only laughing at myself. The 
light of your good sound sense shows me what a 
sentimental creature I have been, — like a board- 
ing-school novel girl. Now you have confessed, 
I will do the same, and you may laugh at me. 
Ever since our unaccountable encounter this after- 
noon I have been filled with misgiving. I have 
dreaded your coming, thinking you would be so 
pained to find your old home turned into — of all 
things — a boarding-house, that you would detest 
us. I tried to contrast its past beauty with its 
present state of partly resuscitated decay, and to 



The New Boarding-house 93 

imagine your sadness as you would walk up the 
drive, once so well kept, feeling that it is yours no 
longer, and that you are in a sense shut out and a 
stranger; and then I imagined you taking note of 
all the signs of past neglect and general dilapi- 
dation, until I was positively sad myself, and 
distraught all through dinner, and was half embar- 
rassed by my own thoughts when I found you 
were actually here and I must face you, and 
now — " 

" And now to discover how unpoetic I am, with 
no natural feelings ? What a revulsion ! " 

"Please don't mistake me. I couldn't help 
laughing at myself for constructing an unreal situa- 
tion, and distressing myself as if it were real, 
before knowing anything about the facts. I won- 
der, do we ever judge our fellow creatures at all 
justly, or only judge our own unreal fancies about 
them, which we set up and call our fellow creatures?" 
"Only a few could do that, Miss Van Ostade. 
Most of us common mortals must take things as 
we find them, without the power of adding thereto. 
What is beautiful we sometimes lose sight of, 
seldom that which is not." The sound of laughter, 
subdued by distance and closed doors, came to him 
as he spoke, and he rose to go. " I am keeping 
you from other guests," he said. He had not 
accomplished his wish. Who was the singer of 
the night before .-^ Might it be the hostess herself.? 
"If she only had that voice!" he thought. "I 
have disgraced myself, I know, but may I come 
again.? I will think up, in the mean time, reasons 
for a becoming degree of melancholy, and so prove 



94 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

to you that I have at least enough sentiment to 
connect me with the rest of the human family." 

" Now it is you who are laughing at me. Do 
not go. Coffee is being served ; won't you stay, 
and allow me to introduce you to my guests ? — 
unless you detest Northerners," she added with a 
quick glance, which he returned in kind. 

" Detest ? I adore them. " 

"Then I can't allow you to go until you have 
accepted hospitality here at least. Please! " — She 
led the way into the drawing-room. A shout of 
delight greeted them as she opened the door. It 
was dear little music-loving Juliet who pounced 
upon her thus uncerem.oniously. 

"Oh, Miss Van Ostade! Please, please sing, 
Miss Van Ostade, sing." 

The formal introductions over, John found him- 
self seated in pleasant conversation with Mr. 
Ridgeway and his daughter. At a prettily laid tea- 
table in the corner near the piano, Portia poured 
the fragrant coffee. It was passed by the children, 
to whom this was an especial privilege, after which 
service they were promptly put to bed by the nurse- 
maids, unless Juliet could persuade their mammas 
to let them stay longer while Portia sang to them. 

"After a little, deary," she said to that impor- 
tunate little miss; "when I have finished here. 
Now you may carry this cup to Mr. Marshall, 
and, Johnny, you may take the biscuit. Carefully, 
little man, or they will slide onto the floor. Don't 
look at Juliet, look at your own tray." 

" Donny can't carry bi'kets, he's on'y a boy," 
said his little sister Helen, watching his uncer- 



The New Boarding-house 95 

tain course, and envious of the honor reposed 
in him. 

"Can too," shouted the belligerent, looking 
back at her, and deftly sliding the dainty wa- 
fers, plate and all, into the lap of the lady from 
Chicago. 

"Now, now," cried the elderly gentleman, amid 
the burst of laughter which followed. " That is 
unkind, to take them all, Mrs. Keller." 

"Oh, Johnny," cried his mother. "Portia, why 
do you trust him.^ And your lovely plate, too! 
What if it had gone on the floor.? " She took the 
tray from the humbled boy, and began passing it 
herself. 

"I said Donny couldn't pass bi'kets," asserted 
Helen. 

"But boys can learn as well as girls," said 
Portia, passing her arm around the affectionate 
little piece of impetuosity, who had tearfully slunk 
back to her chair, well knowing where to find com- 
fort. "Helen may pass the sugar." She placed 
the pretty blue bowl comfortably in the chubby 
hands, and went on pouring the coffee and inter- 
ceding for Johnny. " Please let him try once more. 
It won't happen again." The little fellow's face 
became radiant, while two tears, one on either 
flushed cheeky were pathetic, and the tray was 
placed in his hands. "Johnny is a little soldier, 
and this time he will pay attention only to what 
he is doing." 

"Do you like coffee in pretty cups.'*" said the 
small maiden, Juliet, as she paused in front of 
Marshall. 



96 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"Indeed I do, and little girls too," he replied. 

"Oh, you said a rhyme," she cried, as he took 
the cup. 

" Now won't you sit on my knee while I drink it, 
and take the cup back for me.? " 

She demurely shook her head, eying him gravely. 
"I 'm not 'quainted yet," she said. 

"That's so. Then, if you'll bring Mr. Ridge- 
way his, we will be acquainted when you come 
back, and you can sit on my knee while Miss Van 
Ostade sings." 

She nodded assent, and danced back to Portia's 
side. 

" Is that the way you hurry up an acquaintance 
with a young lady.?" queried Mr. Ridgeway. 

"Certainly, with very young ones." 

"You and I must fight a duel, then," said Mr. 
Betts. "You have stolen my young lady." 

Conversation was going on all over the room. 
Portia heard all, but kept her eyes on her cups and 
saucers. Marshall watched her without appearing 
to do so. 

Mr. Ridgeway turned and spoke quietly to 
the young peach-planter, whom his partner had 
called Richard. " Have you really discovered 
signs of illicit business there at the mill, Mr. 
Button .? " 

"Signs! It's a regular whiskey hole. It was 
Clark there at the station who put me on the track. 
He hears a word or two now and then not just 
intended for his ears, there at Scrapp's. " 

"Take my advice, then. Don't let it be known 
that you have such knowledge, if you wish to go 



The New Boarding-house 97 

on with your planting instead of being planted 
yourself. I was sorry to hear you mention it even 
in our select circle this evening. There are slum- 
bering elements here you would best beware of. 
I am sure of it." 

"Guess you're right," said the younger man, 
thoughtfully. He drew something from an inner 
pocket which Mr. Ridgeway took and looked at a 
moment, and then returned with a smile. 

"Ah," he said slowly. "Yes, it's dangerous 
business, though, Mr. Button." 

" But it must be looked after. We never can 
make anything of this place with that kind of open 
law-breaking going on." 

" No, surely not. Neither can we afford to have 
such young fellows as you killed off." 

"Well, I may not use this. I had myself ap- 
pointed because I happen to know the ropes. We 
may be forced to clean the whole thing out for self- 
protection. There is deviltry enough going on 
about election time without free whiskey." 

The coffee disposed of, and the cups returned to 
the tea-table by the small carriers, Portia rose to 
fulfil her promise to the children. Marshall lifted 
the dancing Juliet to his knee. 

"You were to sit here, you know, while Miss 
Van Ostade sings." 

"I am afraid you will regret it," said Mrs. Barry. 
"Juliet never stops asking questions." 

The child gravely regarded her mother a mo- 
ment, then said, " But I am going to listen now, 
mamma." Then turning to Marshall, she inquired 
in a half whisper, " What 's your name ? " He drew 
7 



98 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

the midget up to him comfortably. "John is my 
name. Now we are acquainted." 

She nodded, and, pointing with a dimpled hand 
to young Master Percy, said: "His name is John, 
too, only we call him Johnny. He is rough some- 
times. Are you rough ? " 

" Indeed, I hope not. Never with little children." 

She looked into his face once again seriously, 
and then, apparently satisfied, nestled down, and 
folded her hands to listen, while Portia's rich voice 
filled the room. And John.'* John was satisfied. 
He had discovered the singer of the evening before. 
After a time the songs for the little ones ceased, 
and the children were put to bed. Conversation 
became general again. The guests made plans for 
excursions to one or two beautiful waterfalls in the 
vicinity, and a visit was proposed to a little log 
church where the negroes held services a few 
miles away. John was invited to make one of the 
party. Then Mrs. Clare and Mrs. Barry played a 
duet, v^hich was followed by more songs, sometimes 
with obligato accompaniment from Mr. Ridgeway's 
violin, which he handled not strongly but with 
great sweetness and grace. The selections grew 
more difficult. Portia sang now in Italian, now in 
German, and at last in plain English to please 
Mr. Betts. 

And John Marshall, passionate lover of music 
that he was, was satisfied. 



CHAPTER VI 
HOPES AND PLANS 

THE moonlight covered the ground at Mar- 
shall's feet with a wonderful network of 
shadows. He paused in his rapid walk and stretched 
out his arms to the cool night air, straightened him- 
self to his full height, drew in a deep breath, and 
said to himself, " At last I have found her — my girl 
of the bridge ! " He buttoned his coat about him- 
self as if he had her secreted in an inner pocket. 
" It must be she. No other could be so like my 
girl of the German bridge." He walked on thought- 
fully. Whichever way he looked he still saw Por- 
tia's bright, proud head. *' Found at last, in the 
dilapidated, forsaken, dishonored old home, keep- 
ing boarders, and — " he drew a letter from his 
pocket, turned it over in his hand, and replaced it. 
" What shall I do if mother and Marguerite persist 
in coming on ? " 

" Ma 's gone tue bed," said Miss Katherine, as he 
entered. '* She nevah sits up aftah eight." 

Miss Katherine had been reading by a shaded 
lamp. She had had Gabriel light a fire to make the 
room look cheerful to John, and indeed it was home- 
like enough after the wretched bedroom at Scrapp's. 
He saw around him the same furniture he and 
Donald used to think so grand. The great mahog- 
any sofa, its rags now decently covered by knitted 

99 



lOO When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

and crocheted tidies, would have held twelve such 
boys. Now he settled himself comfortably in one 
corner of it. 

" Miss Katherine, what are you reading ? " he 
asked. 

She handed him a little old leather-bound volume 
of Thomson's " Seasons." He turned it over in his 
hand, but all he saw on the title page was Portia 
Van Ostade. 

" Miss Katherine," he said at last, *' my head is 
full of schemes. Come over here on the sofa and 
let me talk to you. It will seem like old times." 
So she settled herself in the other corner, as he had 
in his, and they chatted far into the night, — of the 
past, and his boyhood, of the happenings during his 
long absence, and how all the desolation had come 
about, and her voice was low and sad with a slow, 
patient sadness as it lingered over the words. At 
last he broke in with the impetuosity of undaunted 
youth : ** Miss Katherine, things will be better soon. 
I am come to stay, to settle up mother's affairs 
and look after some matters for Uncle Darius, and, 
for one thing, that hotel 's going to be built." He 
rose and paced the room. 

" Yue can't. There 's a hitch somewhere. Miz 
Chaplain knows. She says Jud 's mad at the road, 
and won't sell his half of the hill." 

" Yes, he will ! He '11 sell to me." 

** To yue ! " She opened her eyes in affright. 

John laughed. ** You look as if I had said I would 
swallow him and his hill." 

*' Yue might as well try that as tue move Jud, oh 
buy a hill of pure gold." 




Hopes and Plans loi 

" Well, cheer up. I won't tell you how it is to 
come about, but that rascally Monk is to have the 
wind taken out of his sails, and Jud and I will build 
that hotel. I have the plans with me. They are 
my own. He must move back here and help, that 's 
all. What 's he standing in his own light for ? He 's 
the only one left of the old set that I can work with. 
In three weeks you '11 see a gang of men grading 
that hill. Then you '11 believe me." He paused 
and stood looking down at her whimsically. '* But 
first I want you to promise, — no, you need not. I '11 
do it, anyway." 

" What will yue do, John?" 

He sat beside her and took her hand. " I will, if 
you will let me, try to be some of the things to you 
that Donald would have been. You have taken me 
in as if you were my own sweet sister, for his 
sake, and as if this were my home ; and now, for 
his sake, let me be, in a sense, brother and son 
in this house." Her pathetic brown eyes filled 
with tears, and her thin hand trembled in his. 
He placed it gently back in her lap. " Let me," 
he said; **you know what Donald would do." He 
settled himself again in his corner. '' It 's late, I 
know, but may I talk a little longer, this time about 
myself ? " 

*' Oh, yes, John, yes. The Lord sent you to us ; 
the Lord sent you back." ' 

'' You know my father and Uncle Darius loved 
each other, if they were opposed in politics. Uncle 
Darius has done all for me a father could, — sent me 
to college, given me my choice of a profession and 
sent me abroad, and Aunt Mary has mothered me, 



I02 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

scolded, trained, and loved me, until I feel for her 
what I suppose, according to the ties of blood, I 
should give to my mother. They both came clear 
across the Continent to hear my oration. I worked 
for my life to take honors, to please them, and, on 
the whole, did fairly well. They stayed in New 
York to see me start for Europe. Mother was there 
too, she and Marguerite, but then — " 

" Youh mothah nevah returned aftah your fathah's 
death." 

** Mother loved society, and there was nothing 
here." 

" Except a few of youh fathah's old friends." 

" Father and mother were so unlike ; if he had 
lived it would have been different." 

" How long were you abroad, John .-* " 

" Three years. I worked hard there, studying." 

" Architecture? Were you alone? " 

" Mother and Marguerite were with me off and 
on, but I was there for work, and they for pleasure, 
you know. Strange to say, I saw more of them 
than I ever had before. Mother seemed to grow 
fonder of me, too, but you know her way, the fonder 
she is of one, the more she wants to rule. She set 
her heart and soul and will, which last is the greater 
part of her, on my marrying Marguerite." He 
laughed a little. " We were engaged for a time, 
until Marguerite confessed she only became engaged 
to me because she found it expedient, and because 
she did n't ' dislike me exactly,' and as we were of 
the same mind, we quietly broke off the engagement, 
stopped fighting, and have gotten on fairly well 
since. Now here is my predicament. Mother 



Hopes and Plans 103 

writes me from New York (they are both there) 
that she has half a mind to visit me and the old 
home together. Half a mind with her is equal to 
the whole minds of a dozen other people. They '11 
come, that 's what they '11 do, and what shall I do 
with them?" 

*' I wish we — " 

"They can't come here; I'll accommodate them 
at Scrapp's first." Miss Katherine held up both 
hands in horror. " I 'd take them to the old place, 
only I called there this afternoon, and found them 
such thoroughly charming people." 

" Why, John, that's all the bettah." 

" It 's all the worse. You know mother. She 'd 
make them feel like the dirt she walks on. She 'd 
set her heel on — " 

" Yue need n't fear foh Miss Van Ostade. She 's 
smaht enough." v 

"Yes, and she is refined and sensitive also." 

" But they ah keeping bo'dahs, yue know, and 
she works ha'd with her own hands." 

John smiled. He saw two little work-browned 
hands lying in Miss Katherine's lap. 

" I '11 have to take them there, there 's no alter- 
native, but I '11 — " 

" Build the new hotel first," she said with a teasing 
smile. 

" Now, Miss Katherine, that 's like yourself. No, 
but I '11 do something to keep them from having too 
much unoccupied time on their hands. I '11 have sad- 
dle and carriage horses brought from Asheville, — 
there 's nothing here, — if you '11 let me have the 
stables put in order." 



I04 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I shall take yue at youh word, John. What 
would Donald do?" 

** Thank you. Then, we will do it, you and I." 
She laughed a tremulous little laugh. " We will 
make things hum here. They can have a suite of 
rooms at the old place for them and their maids, if 
the present owners will consent, and I will be the 
devoted son I ought to be. I '11 put off their coming 
as long as I can, and get Hanford Clark there at the 
station to take up his quarters at the house. He 's 
a splendid fellow. I knew him at college. But that 
matter of bringing Judson Chaplain around must be 
looked after first. But now. Miss Katherine, good- 
night. I have tired you out, I know." 

** Good-night, John." She took the lamp and 
conducted him to Donald's old room. Happy 
Katherine ! A new lease of life seemed to have 
come to her. Softly she looked in on her mother 
calmly sleeping. "What would ma say?" she 
thought, and all that night visions of the old gay 
life filled her slumbers. 



CHAPTER VII 
UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS 

IT is well that we are imprisoned in the bodies we 
inhabit during our short span of earthly exist- 
ence; that we are not allowed to imperil our 
peace, and enjoyment of merry thoughts, and the 
beauties that are revealed to us in the natural order 
of events, by erratically wandering about and pene- 
trating into dark places and miserable secrets that 
would be better hidden from us forever, since the 
only unutterably terrible and humanly incompre- 
hensible problem in this world, after all, is the 
existence of sin. 

Peacefully sleeping on Donald's bed, in Donald's 
old room, where everything had been so reverently 
cared for because it was Donald's, lay John Mar- 
shall through that tranquil April night. Could his 
spirit have gone with the moonbeams, it might 
have entered the dirty windows of Budd's saloon, 
where a knot of the male inhabitants were holding 
an impromptu political meeting, screened from 
human eyes by coarse paper curtains over the 
upper half of the windows, and a smearing of white 
paint over the lower. A kerosene lamp lighted 
the place. Ranged in a half-circle around a rusty 
stove and a box of sawdust, some standing, some 
tilted back in rickety chairs, were the men. None 
were seated near the stove, for, being in dangerous 
proximity to the box, they might be hit by the 



1 o6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

shots of tobacco juice, which made a continuous, 
slippery fusillade at it. They talked in low tones, 
with a languid air, that was at the same time full 
of suppressed intensity, like the atmosphere of a 
sultry day before a storm. 

One, seated in a chair placed on the hacked and 
whittled counter, pounded with a stick when all 
talked at once, or one lifted his voice above the low 
pitch adopted by all. Patterson, with one leg 
swung over the corner of the counter, and his 
elbow on his knee, chewed the end of an elm twig 
and eyed his companions sharply. He seldom 
spoke, but was evidently the leading spirit of the 
meeting. 

" We don't want th* m'litia down on us, noh du 
we want any women 'nd childern cut up," he said 
at last. " This 'ere 's p'litical business solely, an' th' 
end justifies th' means, 'nd th' means we 'r' goin' tu 
use is tu hesh up th' niggers, 'nd cool off some o* 

them No'thern intruders over tu Broadgate. 

We ah conservative citizens, and we ah not tu 

be led around by th' nose by a No'thern monkey 

like Monk, noh ah we goin' tu let th' niggers 
drive. We hold th' reins, gentlemen, an' ah goin' 
tu keep aholt of 'em." 

There was suppressed laughter and murmured 
applause. Though all had been drinking, none 
were drunk. Several spoke at once. '' Pitch Monk 
over his trestle." " Tar 'nd fether 'im." '' What 's 
th' matter 'ith givin' Clark a little cold peppeh?" 
'' Send 'im off on one o' his freights." ** Wipe out 
th' niggahs, 'nd one or two o' their backers, 'nd th* 
thing 's done." 



Under Cover of Darkness 107 

The chairman thumped with his stick. ** Gen'le- 
men, I 'low Mr. Patterson ain't thoo." Patterson 
threw his chewed twig into the sawdust. " Naw, 
gen'lemen, I kyan' rightly say as I am thoo ; you- 
all hev been talkin' c'nsiderable, now I '11 talk. Th' 
hosses is stompin' outside; th' regalia's in th' closet, 
ain't it, Budd?" 

" Hit's thar," said Budd. 

''Wall, what's tu hender beginnin' this evenin'?" 
he looked at his watch. 

" That 's th' talk," said one and another. 

" Gen'lemen, here 's my plan. Keep th' road on 
ouh side. Th' prosperity o' th' place demands it. 
Leave th' agent alone. They 's nothin' ag'in th' 
agent, an' he leaves us alone. We must take th' 
head off'n theih party in this section, by quietly 
removin' theih candidate." 

" That 's th' talk." " Git red o' th' trash." " Drop 
'im ovah his trestle." 

"They's tu be no row about it, mind. Ef theih 
candidate skips th' place, thet 's theih look-out. 
Hit's eleven o'clock. We goes tu Monk's room, 
now. Th' first outgoin' freight passes at one, an' 
three men bo'ds it, an' tue of 'em returns on hoss- 
back tu theih own homes (whar they hev been all 
night, of co'se) befo' daybreak." There was a mur- 
mur of assent, and Patterson talked on. " Which 
of yu gen'lemen will take th' ridge mule trail an' 
lead th' hosses around tu th' first stop beyond th' 
trestle foh them 'at takes th' freight? " One of the 
party rose and hitched at the top of his trousers. 
" Bettah go tue tugethah. Ef one gits stuck, t' other 
kin make it." Another man rose and hitched at his 



1 08 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

trousers. '' Thet 's well. Yu tue bettah start. Yu 
won't mo' than make it in two houahs. Hold on a 
minute. Whose hosses yu goin' tu take?" Two 
more men rose, one a huge muscular mountaineer, 
hitched at the tops of their trousers, and silently 
removed the plugs of tobacco from their mouths. 
" Thet 's well," said Patterson again, with slow inten- 
sity. " Take theih hosses 'nd be gone." 

They went out, and soon the clatter of hoofs was 
heard going toward the ridge trail. Addressing the 
men who rose last, Patterson continued : " Youh 
th' right men fo' th' right place. That settles Monk. 
By duin* these things sharp, they 's no need tu du 
th' dirty work ovah again." 

** Mount make an example o' one o' th' niggahs," 
said Budd. *' This 'ere cussed young strut ovah- 
head is top o' th' heap amongst 'em, readin' th' 
papahs an* retailin' trash at theih meetin's. Swing 
'im f'om his pole, an' they won't be no mo' niggahs' 
p'litical meetin's, I reckon." 

*' Naw, let 'im strut awhile. We '11 look aftah 'im 
latah ef he don't hesh." Patterson left the counter 
where he had remained with scarcely a change of 
position during the whole of his talk. The chair- 
man came down from his perch. 

Half an hour later a small band of draped figures, . 
masked and armed, left Budd's saloon, and marched 
silently to the corner store, where the lawyer had 
his rooms, and divided. Four of them quietly 
climbed the stairway, an outside one, the door at 
the top was quickly pried open, there was the sound 
of a few low-spoken words, a short scuffle, and soon 
five figures left the room, one led between two, 



Under Cover of Darkness 1 09 

draped and masked like the rest. No word was 
spoken. They joined the party waiting below, 
crossed the street, and stood back silently in the 
shadow of the freight-house. Soon the outgoing 
train, consisting of three empty cars and a caboose 
also empty, thundered up to the station. One of 
the men was roughly lifted into the caboose, two 
others climbed hastily in after him, and the train 
moved on. When the agent had locked the freight- 
house, and taken his way back to his quarters at 
Scrapp's, the rest emerged from their concealment 
and moved stealthily away. 

Could John Marshall's spirit have gone with the 
moonbeams in all their silent journeyings, he would 
have peered into a little log church a few miles from 
Patterson, half hidden in a wild glen. Behind it 
was a perpendicular wall of lichen-covered rock, 
down which water was forever trickling. Ferns 
growing in the ledges nodded as the sparkling drops 
fell on them. In front a small stream dashed with 
continuous rushing noise over immense boulders. 
A path, a mere narrow mule-track, wound high up 
along the bank of the stream. The glen was beau- 
tiful beyond description, and wild as if so tame a 
creature as man never had visited it. 

While the men gathered in Budd's saloon were 
still meditatively firing at the box of sawdust, some 
thirty or more negroes had stealthily collected here. 
They sat on rude benches of plank, resting on rough 
blocks sawed from solid logs. A wooden chair and 
a table on which were two tallow candles were in one 
end of the room and near them — - a strange article of 
furniture for so rude a place — was a small cabinet 



1 1 o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

organ covered with a shabby green cloth. After 
being addressed by one and another of their num- 
ber, a tall, sinewy, gray-haired mulatto arose. He 
was an exhorter, and spoke much after the fashion 
of the camp-meeting. 

" Bred'ren, an' ," he was going to say sisters, but 
recollecting that no sisters were present, added, 
** an' all yo'-uns wha' is heah. Dis ain' no com- 
mon subjec' wha' has drawed we-all heah. Yo'- 
all t'ink yo' gwine vote nex' week? Naw, bred'ren, 
an' — naw, yo' gwine stan' raoun' an' be knock' on de 
haid like yo' 's ol' used up bosses, wha' ain' got no 
mo' pow' fo' tu hoi' yo'se'fs tugedder. I tell yo', 
bred'ren, I 's seed an' had de 'speunce. Yo' reckon 
yo' 's free 'case yo' ain' had de lash ovah yo' haids, 
but I tell yo', yo' ain' free yit. I kyan' read like Jose- 
phus yandah, or Brudder Chas heah, — I kyan' tell 
what-all is in de papahs he done brung tu de meet'n', 
but, bred'ren, we-all ain' sot free ontwell we kin call 
de souls de Lawd done gib us ouh own." 

Josephus left the room at the beginning of the 
old man's talk. He had already spoken, urging 
upon them that they had a right to vote their own 
ticket like white men, that they were all free men, 
and had only to do a little knocking on their own 
account, and show themselves men to succeed. 

After the old man had spoken at some length, 
Lord Chesterfield came forward, unbuttoned his 
coat, and drew out some papers and a notebook 
with a pompous air. Although a fop, he was no 
fool. He possessed a strong will, and loved power. 
The moonlight stole through the dusty little win- 
dow and fell on his softly curling, silky black hair.. 



Under Cover of Darkness 1 1 1 

His face seemed a dead white in the dusk of the 
candle-light. He spoke well, using notebook and 
papers ostentatiously. He had evidently been 
primed by Monk, who was running for the office 
of circuit judge. 

" Uncle Isaac 's done tol' de troof We-all 's not 
free yit, an' we nebber will be free ontwell we gits 
a No'thun jedge in dis-yer No'th C'liny, an' Monk 's 
de man, gen'l'men. He has de hull taoun yandah 
tu Broadgate on his side. They 's put' nigh all 
No'thun men dar." 

" Yas, yo' 's nuffin' but a young cock I'arnin* tu 
crow. Yo' has a heap tu I'arn yit," muttered old 
Isaac. 

While Chas strutted about with coat thrown open, 
and thumbs thrust in the armholes of his vest, 
Josephus was wandering far from the cabin, with 
a brown paper parcel under his arm, evidently 
searching for some one among the rocks, and leaving 
poor Bonaparte tied to a sapling near the church. 

" Yas, gen'l'men, we-all 's got tu be cl'ar dum still 
an' circumspec' an' nebber let on like we-uns gwine 
tu jump," continued Chas. " Dis-yer 's mighty 
ticklesome business. I hyahs a heap yandah ovah 
de sto' an' nuvvah lets on like I hyahs nuffin'. Ef 
dey 'low tu hendah we-uns in ouh fa'r, right, an' jus' 
privileges, I 's gwine — " 

Suddenly every man sprang to his feet and the 
lights were extinguished. A shot rang through the 
glen and reverberated from rock to rock of its per- 
pendicular sides. Uncle Isaac peered through the 
window, screened by the darkness within, and saw 
two horsemen ride over a rise in the path and dis- 



i 



\ 



1 1 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

appear in the shadows. Along the trail rode the 
two men who had first left Budd's saloon, each lead- 
ing a horse saddled. They took note of the light in 
the cabin, and the mule tied to the sapling. 

" Thet thar 's Josephus' mule," said one. " Th' 
niggahs is up tu sump'n in thar. See th' light in th' 
winders? " 

The other said nothing, but levelled his revolver at 
the creature's head and fired. The animal dropped 
with a groan, and the men rode on. 

" Josephus is a mighty high-steppin' niggah," said 
he who fired the shot, slipping a new cartridge in 
the place of the one just used, and pocketing the 
weapon. 

The candles were not relighted in the little log 
church that night. The men stole out and scattered 
silently to their homes. 

" Naw, bred'ren, we-all ain' free yit. We *s undah 
de sto'm-claoud," said Isaac, in a low voice, as he 
looked at the dead mule. 

" Cl'issy, she '11 be mighty cut up ovah dis-yer," 
said another. " She lays a heap on Josephus an' 
dat ah mule team o' his'n." 

" Hit sarves Joe like he'd ought tu be sarved, fo' 
duin* sech a fool trick. What he done brung de 
mule heah fo' anyhow? Hit jes' lets on we-all's 
hol'n' meet'n's heah, a-hee-hawin' outside. He ain' 
nufBn' but a fool nigger anyhow, — kyan' du nuffin' 
but hoUah an' sing," said Chas, angrily. ''Whar is 
he gone now ? Hunt'n' a'ter a possom mo' 'n likely." 



CHAPTER VIII 

JOSEPHUS' SECRET 

JOSEPHUS, prowling among the rocks near the 
bridge, where he had rescued Portia that after- 
noon, heard the shot in the distance, but gave no 
heed. Creeping among the blackest shadows, he 
entered a sort of cave high among the crags over- 
hanging the stream. 

" Pete Gunn, come out o' dar," he called in low 
tones ; " no use o' yo' hid'n' heah." No answer 
came. *' Pete, ef yo' doan quit hangin' raoun' dis 
hole, I 's gwine tu Patterson, 'n' tell de she'iff yo' 's 
heah." His eyes, grown used to the darkness, de- 
scried a black bundle in one corner. He touched it 
with his foot, and a man struggled to his feet with 
an inarticulate snarl, like a wild animal. The 
wretched creature shook from head to foot. 

" Wha' yo' hunt'n' me fo', Josephus? I ain' done 
nuffin' tu yo'-uns." 

Josephus leaned against the wall of the cave, 
regarding the trembling creature before him. 
"Why n't yo' behave yo'se'f? Wha' yo' done wid 
de money Gabr'ella gib yo' fo' tu git tu Raleigh?" 

The man muttered about being sick and starving. 

" Naw, yo' low daoun niggah ; yo' 's drinkin'. I kin 
smell de whuskey oft'n yo'. Yo' 's hangin' raoun 
steal'n' Jim Throop's moonshine whuskey, an' 
pitchin' rocks daoun on folkses' haids, an* kiUin' 
ol' women." 

8 113 



1 14 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I nebber, fo' de Lawd, I nebber did n' kill nobody, 
sho 's I bohned a niggah." 

" Wha' fo' yo' stan'in' dar wid de rock ovah de 
lady's haid?" 

"I's starvin', I tell yo'." 

"Well, yo' gvvine eat de lady?" Josephus lifted 
his arm as if he would strike the cowering figure to 
the earth. 

" Lawd ! Josephus, doan strike. I 's starvin' an' 
dyin'. I war gwine git dat ar gol' off 'n her, — dat gol' 
chain an' pin, — and, git Kit tu sell 'em tu git me 
victuals. I 's starvin'. Crawlin' an' hid'n', an' nuifin' 
tu keep de life in me but sasafrax root 'n' whuskey. 
Gabr'ella gone back on me. Mam Gunn won' he'p 
none. I kyan' move in de daytime 'daout de officers 
haul me back tu de chain-gang." 

" Naw, Gabr'ella ain' gone back on yo' neider." 
Josephus opened his parcel. " Heah I been totin' 
dis-yer meat 'n* co'n bread she done sont yo' — 
'pears like I kyan' b'leeb yo' no kin tu her no- 
way. Ef 'twain' fo' her I 'd sen' de she'iff a'ter 
yo'. Sho nuff, yo' gwine kill de lady, heav'n* 
rocks daoun on her haid?" The poor creature 
clutched at the meat, and began tearing it with 
his teeth. Josephus seated himself on a boulder, 
watching him in silence. " I 's baoun' tu git de 
troof aout'n yo'," he said at last, "or gib yo' up, 
one. What-all yo' been duin' sence yo' git shet 
o' de chain-gang? Wha' fo' yo' kill de ol' 'oman 
yandah up de maount'n?" 

Pete paused with his chunk of meat half-devoured. 
" Wha' fo' yo' talkin' 'baouts kill'n' foh ? Ain' I done 
tell yo' I nebber did n' kill nobody?" 



Josephus' Secret 115 

** Whose clo'es yo* got on? " 

" His'n. Hi. Toplins 's wha' I wo'k fo' ; dat time 
de officers come daoun on us. I roll off'n de han'- 
cah, 'n' cut fo* de bresh when all han's was driben de 
cah ontu de bredge. De ovahseeah holla an' shoot, 
but dey could n' stop de cah ontwell hit cl'ar on de 
middle o' de bredge, en dey baoun' tu git on, 'case 
de train comin' on 'hine dem. Dat-a-way hu-come 
I git shet o' de chain-gang. I been nigh daid wid 
de starvin', kyan' take nuffin' 'daout dey track me. 
I jes' made aout tu lib an' crawl back tu Toplins' 
place 'g'in. De ol' 'oman she daoun by de branch 
washin*, an' I he'p myself tu all de victuals in de 
cabin, an' I see her haid a-bobbin' ovah de tub, an' 
de ol' man's clo'es hangin' 'hine de do' an' I tuk 
his'n an' lef mine dar. Dat-a-way hu-cum I got 
shet o' de jail clo'es." He began tearing at the 
meat again. 

*' Mine, ef yo' 's lyin* I 's gwine gib yo' up." 

" Fo' de Lawd, I ain* tellin' no lie. I done went 
home, an' Nance, she kep' me awhile, twell Kit, she 
see de officers comin', den I run 'n clum in de wash- 
kittle daoun 'hine de big gum, 'n' Nance, she wait 
twell she see 'em lookin' at her, den she pitch in 
hul' ahmful o' clo'es, an' trow in bucket o' watah, 
like she gwine begin wash'n', 'nd holla, ' Kit, yo' 
light de fiah,' an' Kit she git de chips tugedder like 
she gwine light de fiah undah de kittle right smaht, 
an' Nance she g' long tu de haouse, an' talk wid de 
men. Dey sarch de haouse, an' pitch de baids aout 
de do* 'n' cahy on like dey debbles, an' Nance 'low tu 
me, dey done tol' her I done kill ol' man Toplins' 
wife yandah up de maount'n. Mo' likely he done 



1 1 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

hit he's own se'f. I knows him. I hyearn him holla 
at her heap o' times like he gwine kill 'er." 

" Yo' knows he ain' dar. Dey tu'k him 'long 
o' yo'-uns moonshinin', and put 'im in de white 
'tentiary." 

" Huh ! He ain' dar? " shouted the wretch, angrily. 
*' Did n' I see 'im snoopin' raoun' de mill yis'day? 
Gohses doan walk in de day, baig'in' fo' whuskey. 
He kill 'er he's se'f. He come home, an' dar he 
fin' de clo'es gone, an* 'low she done sell 'em, an' 
kill 'er. Dat ar hu-cum she daid." He gave a low 
guttural laugh, and began tearing the bread from 
the loaf with his teeth. Josephus kicked at him, and 
stepped out of the cave into the moonlight. 

** Yo' brute hog, I 'low dat tu good name fo' yo'. 
I 'low yo* ain' no kin tu Gabr'ella noway." 

The man called after him piteously: "Josephus, 
O Josephus, doan gib me up. I tell yo' he done 
hit he's own se'f." 

*' Haish ! Yo' gwine gib yo' own se'f up holla'n* 
like dat-a-way? " 

There was sudden silence in the woods, then a 
great owl in a thicket close to Josephus hooted with 
a wild fearful cry, that rang through the wood like 
the shriek of a despairing soul, making the flesh 
creep and tingle. " Trouble gwine come," he mut- 
tered. The cry was answered from farther up the 
gorge, like a reawakening of the first echo, whereat 
the bird left the thicket, and flew softly and swiftly 
past him, like the despairing soul itself impelled to 
its doom. Its shadow fell on him as it passed. 

"■ 'Pears like Pete done holla an' died, an' dar goes 
he's ghos*. Trouble gwine come now sho." But 



Josephus' Secret 1 1 7 

Pete had only crawled into the farthest corner of 
the cave, and was drinking from a jug of whiskey he 
had stolen from the mill the day before. There in 
drunken stupor he lay, only rousing at the close of 
the second day to drink himself again unconscious 
with what remained in the jug. 

Josephus hurried toward the little log church, 
scrambling dexterously over rough, dangerous 
places, and cutting across an intervening hill, and 
down the precipitous sides of the gorge, hoping to 
reach the cabin before his absence would be dis- 
covered. All was still, and the lights out. 

** 'Pears like dey done cl'ar out o' heah mighty 
suddent," he said. He saw the mule lying where he 
had tied it, and gently touched it with his foot. 
" Git up. Bony, yo* lazy. H'ist, mule." Something 
uncanny in its stillness startled him. He stooped 
and touched its ears. *' Daid, sho nuff daid. I 
knowed trouble gwine come when dat owel done 
hollah at me." He scratched his head, ruminating 
mournfully, as he walked around the dead beast. 
*' Dey done come daoun heah, an' broke up de 
meet'n', 'an kill de po' critter." 

He sat down on a log, his head between his hands, 
his pride broken. If they had sought out a way to 
hurt him with a refinement of cruelty, they could not 
have done so more effectually than by killing his 
mule, except by shooting its mate as well. He heard 
the trampling of horses' hoofs over the stony trail. 
Screened as he was by his blackness blending with 
the dark bank and the shadows, he remained unseen 
as the four riders passed. Their voices sounded 
clear and strong in the narrow ravine. 



1 1 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I 'low we 've done this puty slick," said one. 

" We '11 know soon, ef we see th' buzzards hangin' 
round th' spot," said another. Supposing they 
spoke of his mule, Josephus determined to bury 
the animal next day. 

Old Clarissa had waited his return through the long 
slow hours, meditating, smoking her cob pipe, and 
now and then adding a stick of " light-'ud " to keep 
the fire going as she crouched over the hearth. 
She hated darkness, and the dancing flame and 
old lame pussy at her feet were her companions. 

" Whar yo' been loafin' ? " she queried as he 
entered, long past midnight. 

'' Nowhar," he said, scowling and touching the 
cat with his foot. 

" Yo' leab de cat 'lone. Is yo' niggers been 
hol'n' meetin's? did n' I tol' yo' leab dem ah tu de 
white folkses? Dey'll hab yo' hangin' f'om a tree 
one o' dese days, I reckon." 

He stood by the fire a few moments in sullen 
silence, then climbed a ladder leading through a 
trap-door into a loft above. She heard his steps 
overhead, and then all was still. He had thrown 
himself, dressed as he was, on his straw bed, de- 
cently covered with patchwork quilt of his mother's 
own making. 

Old Clarissa puffed at her half-consumed pipe 
until it went out. She moved her lips from time to 
time as if communing with herself. At last the words 
broke out in a sort of half-moaning prayer : — 

" Oh, Lawd ! doan yo' know de h'a't ob de sor- 
rowin' Lawd? I ain' done nuffin', Lawd. Yo' knows 
hu-come I done hit, Ef yo' visits de sins ob de 



Josephus^ Secret 119 

fathahs on de chillen, ain' dat nuff, Lawd, 'daout 
visitin' de sins ob de mudders on 'em tu? Lawd, 
leab de boy 'lone, an' tek he's ol' niudder 'way fom 
de trials an' de tribulations comin'. Leab de boy 
'lone. Lawd, I done ax yo' heap o' times tek ol' 
Cl'issy home. Kyan' I go home, Lawd? Hu-come 
yo' leab me heah in de way? I ain' done nuffin'. 
Tek me an' leab de boy 'lone." 

She drew the ashes over the coals, and crept 
shivering into bed. Not into the best bed with its 
gay pieced cover and pure white pillows, — no, no. 
That was a sacred ornament to her little cabin. 
Only one being had ever slept in it. She, like an 
angel from heaven, had come among them, lived 
among them, and brought on herself the contumely 
of her white neighbors by teaching the blacks; 
but while they ostracized and ignored her, she was 
saved from brutality by her sw^eetness and beauty 
and physical frailty. During a few short years, 
what had she not accomplished, unrewarded, as 
men reckon rewards ! She had brought a measure 
of refinement into a few^ degraded homes, had 
taught day school and night school, had organized 
a Sabbath school, and had taught Gabriella Gunn to 
play her little cabinet organ, which she bequeathed 
to their little church at her death. Lovingly she 
had been laid to rest on the wild hillside, and a 
rude board placed at the head of her grave, which 
had been fenced about to prevent stray cattle from 
tramping over it. 

Mammy Clarissa never w^earied of telling how 
Miss Mann had slept in her " bes' baid dat time 
she got cotched in de sto'm o' lightnin'," 



I 20 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

In the earliest dawn Josephus climbed down his 
ladder, softly stepping past his mother's couch, 
and gently drawing to the door after him. He 
rode away from the little clearing on old Jude's 
back with a shovel and pick strapped together over 
his shoulder. The earth smiled drowsily under the 
charm of a sweet May dawn, but he felt none of 
the sweetness. He set his teeth hard as he dug- 
his heels into the mule's sides and galloped up 
and down the mountain road, through patches of 
slanting shadows, and under boughs still dripping 
from a slight shower. 

" Dey ain' gwine kick me dat-a-way," he muttered. 
*' I 's hab anuddah mule right smaht, I reckon." 

After covering the carcass of poor Bonaparte, 
and concealing the place with brush, he rode on. 
A cat-bird whistled merrily in a thicket of dogwood 
and oaks ; the breath of the morning blew in his 
face, sweet with the odor of blossoms and the earth, 
but he rode sulkily with head drooped. Presently 
he drew an old stocking from his bosom and began 
counting his little hoard of savings, mostly dimes, 
three-cent pieces, and pennies, with one or two bills 
which he had earned doing odd jobs for Mr. Ridge- 
way and the two young planters. Suddenly he 
drew rein so quickly as to set Jude back on her 
haunches. His face expanded. He lifted his head 
and drew in a deep breath. 

" I 's gwine see Mist' Button 'n' Mist' Craig," he 
said. " I 'low dey '11 le' me job fo' de money. Git 
up, Jude, yo' 's gwine hab nurrer mate right smaht. 
I 'low Gabr'ella sha'n't know dis-yer ontwell I 
come clatt'n' 'long wid de span. Git." 



Josephus' Secret 121 

He turned and took another trail, which led over 
an intervening hill into a sheltered valley, where the 
soil was deep and enriched by washings from the 
surrounding slopes. Here the young orchard was 
set, and its thrifty owners were already on the edge 
of the plantation preparing for a day's cultivating. 

" I tell you there is something at the bottom of 
all this," said Richard, as he buckled the horses' 
head-strap. " I rode by Throop's mill yesterday, 
and if I did n't see old Toplins disappear through 
the shed door I have no eyesight. I knew his 
limp. If he's been discharged, what's he hiding 
for? Why doesn't he walk up and make a stir 
about the murder? The old sinner is back in the 
old business, or else he knows more of the other 
affair than is safe for him." 

*' Both, more than likely," said Craig. 

" Well, what 's to be done about it ? " 

"Nothing. Let them manage their own concerns. 
I see no reason why we should meddle. Pete 's a 
low-down nigger anyway, so what's the odds? If 
he gets lynched now it may save him from commit- 
ting a murder in the future, if he did n't do this." 

Richard laughed. ** Your idea of justice is on 
a par with Lord Chesterfield's idea of religion. 
* He's baoun' tu be 'ligious, 'case de niggers heah- 
'bouts doan know no bettah nohow. Dey'll t'ink 
he a bohned fool ef he doan holla glory hallelooya 
tu de meet'n's.' — Hello, Josephus, where did you 
drop from? " 

" How'dy, Mist' Button, how'dy. Mist' Craig." 
Josephus made his most deferential bow. " I jes' 
thought as haow I'd drap raoun' heah dis maw'n — " 



I 2 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

He hesitated, then throwing himself off Jude's back 
he took a step nearer. " Is yo'-uns been intu Pat- 
terson sence las' ebenin' ? " he dropped his voice to 
a low tone. 

" No. Why do you ask? " 

" Dey done been up tu some debblement, I 'low. 
Some fool debble done kill my mule." His voice 
shook. *' Dey kyan' kick me dat-a-way. I 's gwine 
git de law on 'em. I 's gwine — " 

"Where was the mule ? " interrupted Dick. 

*' Yandah by de log chu'ch in de hollah. I 's 
gwine — " 

** How did he come to be there?" said Craig, 
impatiently. " When was it ? " 

** I done rode 'im dar." 

" What were you doing there?" 

Josephus looked off over the treetops in an absent 
way. 

*' What are you niggers up to ? " Craig spoke 
sharply. 

" Dar's de chu'ch. We cullud people all goes tu 
chu'ch right smaht." 

" Yes, you colored people are a right smart set. 
You 've been holding political meetings right smart, 
and I opine you '11 some of you be swinging from 
the trees in Patterson with ropes round your necks 
right smart too, before you know it." 

Josephus' face grew, if possible, a shade darker 
than its wont. Richard spoke up with a short 
laugh. " Why don't you put a bullet into some o* 
their mules? " 

*' Richard, you know better than to give such ad- 
vice as that. I tell you, Josephus, you fellows have 



Josephus' Secret 123 

got to keep quiet. There 's no use in your holding 
meetings and trying to get into pohtics ; you must 
wait till the South cools off. They 're red hot yet 
from the licking they've had. You keep still and 
wait and educate yourselves. Get ready to vote 
by learning to read and write and think, and 
then — " 

'*Lawd! Mist' Craig, what's yo' talkin' 'bout? 
We ain' no skyule o' ouh own. Ouh chillun ain' 
'lowed in de white folkses' skyule. Dar ain' five 
niggahs in dis-yer county kin read 'nd figgah. Git 
de ed'caishun ! Ef we kyan' git de law fo' we-uns, hu- 
come we gwine git de ed'caishun? " 

Richard, seated on a stump, was pounding a sap- 
ling twig with the handle of his knife. His was one 
of those rare natures that never outlive their boy- 
hood. He was making a whistle. " Jim," he said, 
looking up in his friend's face, *' I tell you what I 
think. I think this whole business is darned mean. 
It 's low-down mean." The bark came off with a 
quick jerk. He looked at it, and turned it over in 
his hand meditatively. " You wanted something 
of us, didn't you, Joe? Out with it, don't mind 
him. Craig barks; he never bites. I'm the fel- 
low that bites." 

Josephus' heart was too heavy. He could not 
smile. " I 's baoun' tu git nurrer mule," he hesi- 
tated. The young men were silent. Richard kept 
on whittling. ''I — I — come raoun' tu ax yo'- 
uns fo' de loan o' de money. I 'low I kin git 
right smaht o' jobbin' f'om Mist' Ridgeway, and 
dar's young Mist' Mahshall come back 'g'in, I 
'low he '11 he'p some, an' I done save a right smaht 



1 24 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

o' money heah." He drew the stocking from his 
bosom. 

** Well, how much have you there?" said Craig. 

Josephus poured the money into his red cotton 
handkerchief and began laboriously counting it. 
''Heah's eight dollahs." 

** I guess there 's more than that," said Craig, 
stooping down and separating the coins with one 
finger. " Eight dollars and seventy-five cents." 

Josephus took a silver quarter from his trousers' 
pocket, adding it to the heap. It had a hole in it, 
and he was saving it for luck. "Dar's nine dol- 
lahs," he said. 

" How much will a mule cost?" said Craig. 

" I done give fifty-one dollahs fo' dat ar mule 
dey done kill." 

" He can't get a mate for this one for less than 
that," said Dick. 

" Well," said Craig, taking the reins of their 
idle team, and drawing up their heads impatiently, 
"well, what do you say?" 

Richard laughed in his deliberate way. He 
placed the whistle between his lips and blew a 
shrill note. " We must have that stone hauled 
for the lower road," he said, then shutting his 
knife with a click he thrust it deep in his trousers* 
pocket, and drew out his wallet and proceeded to 
investigate the contents. " I declare, I 'm not very 
flush," said he. " What do you say? " 

Josephus drew out a huge silver watch and eyed 
it lovingly. It had been given to his father by his 
old master, and was a precious possession. He 
turned it over in his hand and watched the faces 



Josephus' Secret 125 

of the two young men. They quietly calculated 
their expenses for the next two months, and made 
up the money between them. Then James Craig 
turned sharply around. 

"Look here, Josephus," he said, ''you're no fool, 
if you are black. You 're not to let on to a living 
soul where you got this money, hear? Here. Give 
me that watch. There ! Now, if anything is said, 
say you sold your watch, and when this money is 
made up, we '11 give it back, and you can say you 
bought it back again. See? That lets us out, 
and you, too. Mind, we don't want your watch; 
you must job for us for part of the money, and 
pay down what you can, and we '11 give you all 
summer to do it in." 

" I decla'r', fo' de Lawd, Mist' Craig, I '11 job fo' 
de money right fa'r, an' I '11 ax de Lawd fo' tu bress 
yo'-uns," exclaimed Josephus, fervently. 

Craig smiled grimly as Josephus disappeared 
over the trail. " I suppose we are a pair of fools," 
he said, gathering up the reins again. 

Dick threw away his whistle, and seizing the 
handles of the cultivator jerked it into place, and 
they started down the long row of young trees. 
" It was a dirt mean trick," he said at last, " and 
the fellow deserved help." 



CHAPTER IX 

A DUSKY COQUETTE 

WHILE Josephus was solemnly burying his 
mule, Gabriella Gunn was preparing a 
breakfast of bacon, corn bread, and molasses in her 
stepmother's cabin, for a swarm of hungry black 
urchins. Nance, the mother of the brood, sat in 
one corner spinning, and smoking her cob pipe, 
unheeding the hubbub around her. Gabriella went 
back and forth from the fireplace to the table, 
around which the children stood, cooking and serv- 
ing them at the same time. A coffee-pot and a 
few dishes were in a rude cupboard near the fire- 
place, but on the table were only an iron pan of 
corn cakes, baked nearly an inch thick, and the 
black jug of sorghum molasses. The corn cakes 
she broke apart and saturated with molasses, or 
sandwiched with bacon, and gave into the out- 
stretched, greasy little black paws. 

** Yo' Alexandah, haish." A howl of anger burst 
forth from a chubby youngster who had been 
quietly licking the corn-cob stopper of the molasses 
jug. " Sal, quit yo' snatchin' ; I '11 box yo' d'rec'ly." 
The rude meal finished, she gave to the largest girl 
a long homespun towel and sent them all down " tu 
■de branch," to wash off the grease and molasses. 
Then she set the table with a few dishes for Nance 
and herself and made coffee. 

126 



A Dusky Coquette 127 

"Come, Nance," she said at length, " leab go 
an' eat." Nance rose slowly, shook the ashes from 
her pipe into the fireplace, and laid it on the table. 
She was a large, comely negress, with a red cotton 
turban on her head, and huge gold loops in her ears. 

Her husband had been dead a year, but she and 
Gabriella had done much better without him, since 
his presence in the household had brought no other 
income to the family than the addition yearly of 
another black urchin to the swarm around their door 
to be clothed and fed ; yet Nance had mourned him 
loudly ever since he had been found dead in the 
branch, where he had fallen in a drunken fit. 

"I 'low Pete's daid," said Nance. 

'* Naw, Pete ain' daid. He 's hid'n' yandah by 
Throop's mill. We ain' shet o' Pete yet." 

"Why n't yo' leab Pete be took? He ain' no 
good tu we-uns nohow." 

" I ain' gwine 'low no kin tii me be hung. Pete 
gits drunk, but he doan kill ol' women." 

The doorway was suddenly darkened, and both 
women started. 

" Laws, Mist' Mahshall ! " said Nance. " Hu- 
come yo' heah fo' sun-up? I declar' yo' gib my 
h'a't sich a jump hit like tu made me holla." ^ 

It was Lord Chesterfield. Nance and he greeted 
each other with elaborate courtesy, while Ga- 
briella, with her back to him, went on with her 
cooking. Nance looked on him as a fine match for 
her stepdaughter, and beamed on him with shining 
face as she urged him to sit and eat. Piqued at 
Gabriella's silence, he would not be pacified by 
Nance's kind ofi"er. He remained standing, leaning 



I 28 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

against the doorpost, and made facetious, sarcastic 
remarks, and told of Josephus' loss with evident 
satisfaction. 

Gabriella took a wooden bucket and left the cabin 
as he talked. She entered a cow-shed at the rear, 
and began milking. Soon he came sauntering by 
the door and stooped to look in. She glanced up 
at him sideways. 

*' Ain' yo' mighty fine an' peart tu be stan'in' 
raoun' a caow-shed ? " she asked. 

"Yo' haish," he said with a laugh. ''Yo' gittin' 
so big-feelin' I kyan' keep step wid yo' no mo', sence 
Mist' Ridgeway come daoun heah sta'tin' a bo'din'- 
haous, yo' tu'nin' ovah sich a heap o' money wid 
dis-yer caow 'n' chick'ns." 

Gabriella made no answer; the milk streamed 
into the pail with a steady swish, swish, while the 
cow stood with half-closed eyes, chewing her cud. 
A black hen scratched and clucked contentedly to 
her brood outside the door. Chas walked away, 
but as Gabriella ceased milking and took up her 
pail, he turned back. 

"Look a-heah," he said, going close to her side, 
"ain' yo' an' me nebber gwine git jined? Heah 
I been co'tin' yo' ebber sence I come back, an' yo' 
doan say nuff 'n' 'g'in hit, an' now yo' go cuttin' sich 
capahs, like I wan* no mo* dan de graoun' yo' 
walks on." 

She put down her pail, and stood facing him with 
arms akimbo, then swaying her lithe form back and 
forth, she broke into laughter. Chas bore her 
merriment a moment, then seizing her by the arm 
he shook her. 



A Dusky Coquette 129 

" Quit dis-yer foolin'. I come heah fo* ax yo' is 
we gwine git jined. I ain' gwine be fooled wid 
dis-a-way no mo'." 

She pulled away, and taking up the pail turned 
toward the cabin, still shaking with laughter. With 
one stride he placed himself between her and the 
door. 

" Yo' ain' gwine git shet o' me dat-a-way." 

" Naw, I ain' gwine git shet o' yo' dat-a-way," 
she said, and turning again she entered the shed, 
and passing through a place where a board had 
fallen from the farther side, was back in the cabin 
singing and talking with Nance before he realized 
how she had escaped him. 

** Dar 's Sis' Catherine jes' dyin' fo' a sight o' yo', 
Chas," she called after him as he strode sullenly 
away. " Why n't yo* call thar, sence yo' out an' 
right peart dis mawnin' ? Heah, Kit," she continued, 
as the children came scuffling back from the stream 
below, '* yo' tu'n de cow loose, an' mine yo' 
watch aout; do'n let her run off like yo' did 
yis'day." 

Well might Chas be sullen. Often had his dusky 
Phillis tormented him thus, only to stimulate his 
wilful nature to more persistent attentions. This 
morning he had meant to gloat over Josephus' loss, 
and say smart things at his expense, not to press his 
suit. Since she would not listen to the former, 
he had been teased into the latter, and now, vexed 
beyond measure, he kicked the sticks out of his path, 
and shied stones at the few stray cows browsing in 
the underbrush, along the way to his lonely striped 
pole. 



130 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Yo' ain' nebber gwine git nudder man like dat 
come co'tin' yo','' said Nance, watching him disap- 
pear down the windings of the road. " Yo' cahy 
yo' haid like yo' tu good fo' de bes', yo' does. 
Cutt'n' capahs Hke yo' a bohn'd lady wha' sits in de 
po'ch an' waves de fan, an' calls de fine gen'lem tu 
de railin' tu bow deir haids, an' talk an' laugh, yo' 
does." 

" Oh, g' long. He t'ink'n haow he gwine set in 
de po'ch he's own se'f an' 'low me du de totin' fo 
him. I knows Chas. He 'lows tu git de cow an' 
de buttah, an' de chickin an' de aigs. Ain' yo' 'n' 
me wo'k an' strive fo' dese heah? I ain* longin' fo' 
no man tu hang raoun' de doah, I ain'." She seated 
herself at a rude loom in one end of the cabin. 
These women spun the yarn and wove the cloth for 
many of their neighbors as well as themselves. Her 
body swayed back and forth as she threw the 
shuttle, and the heavy beam rose and fell. **Dar's 
Pete," she went on. '' No good he is. Alius 
drunk." 

" Yo' paw nuvvah did n' brung Pete up right," 
said Nance. 

" Dey ain' nobody brung up right, I reckon," said 
Gabriella. 

*'Yo' ain' nuthin' tu say," said her stepmother. 
She was proud of Gabriella's accomplishments, and 
never missed an opportunity of telling how she 
could ** play on de melogimum dat fine yo"s would 
cl'ar jump and holla, tu hear how she make de 
chune fly." 

'' Pete moughnt 'a* had de same chance I had ef 
he 'd a min' tu wo'k like I done wo'k." 



A Dusky Coquette 131 

" Pete did n' ought tu lef wo'kin' on de co'n- 
patch," said Nance. While the two women talked, 
the subject of their conversation still lay in the cave 
of gray rock, in drunken stupor, the jug of whiskey 
half empty, and the food Gabriella had sent him 
half eaten. 



CHAPTER X 

MORNING SONGS AND DOGWOOD BLOOMS 

PORTIA stood under one of the arched gate- 
ways in the early morning, looking up at the 
great silent house, and then down the road where 
the line of rail fence stretched itself, a fascinat- 
ing tangle of wild shrubbery in full bloom. Lift- 
ing her dress a little, she moved one neatly clad foot 
about in the long grass and weeds to see if it were 
too wet to venture after dogwood blossoms. 

" Good-morning, Josephus," she said brightly. 
** Has the man been taken yet? I would have been 
hurt if you had not come along yesterday." 

" Naw, Miss Po'tia." He looked meditatively ofif 
a moment, then dismounting, he approached her, 
and said in a low tone, " Miss Po'tia, is yo' gwine be 
mad wid me? I nuvvah tole 'em whar Pete war. 
Gabr'ella, yo' knows her, wha' totes yo' aigs 'n' but- 
tah, she 's a right smaht, peart gal. She no low- 
down niggah. I ain' gwine 'low no kin tu her be 
took an' hung tu de fus' tree come 'long, fo* what 
he nuvvah did n' du." 

*' Why, Josephus, how dare you? He might kill 
some one else, and the murder would be on your 
head," she exclaimed in horror. 

'' Naw, Pete nuvvah," he replied, earnestly. " Her 
own husban* done hit. De ol' man he bery debbil, 
he are. He 's aout'n de 'tentiary hid'n' yandah in ol' 

132 



Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms i 33 

Throop's mill. He do'n dar show he's se'f. Ef he 
did n' done hit, hu-come he doan come aout an' 
make a fuss 'bouts de killin' o' he's woman?" 

" But you don't know, Josephus; you may be put 
in prison yourself for hiding him." 

" Yas, I knows. Pete low-down good-fo'-nuth'n' 
niggah, but he ain' no mo' ha'm dan any po' fool 
wha' kyan' leab de whuskey 'lone. He .starvin', 
pore critter. He kyan' git nuffin' tu eat 'daout he 
gits took." 

*' But you see what he was going to do to me." 

" Yas, Miss Po'tia, I knows. He war gwine git 
dat gol' chain off'n yo' 'n' git Kit tu sell hit tu git 
'im victuals." 

'* Why, can't you see, Josephus, what a risk you 
are running to let such a man have his liberty? 
What if you had n't come by when you did? What 
would have become of me?" 

** I knows, Miss Po'tia, dar 's whar 't is. De Lawd 
done sont me dat time. Ain' yo' b'leeb de Lawd 
watchin' aout right smaht fo' we-uns?" 

"Why, certainly, but he doesn't always interfere. 
How was it with the poor old woman up the moun- 
tain, else? The Lord doesn't mean creatures like 
that to run at large ; he ought to be shut up." 

Josephus scratched his head a moment. Jude was 
contentedly eating grass by the roadside. '' Miss 
Po'tia, heah 's wha' I t'inks. De Lawd done sont me 
tu save yo' an' he'p Pete. 01' man Toplins kill 
he's woman he's own se'f. He wusser 'n a mad 
pizen ho'net. I done took Pete a hunk o* co'n 
bread 'n' meat fo* Gabr'ella, fo' keep de life in 'Im ; 
n* I done got tu bury de mule fo' dat tu," he added 



)_> 



r 34 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

bitterly, " an' when dey debbles gits off'n de scent, 
we gwine sen' 'im aout'n de country right smaht." 
His voice rose in an angry quiver. " Ain' I hones' 
man? Hu-come dey go shoot'n' my mule? We 
kyan' git nothin', noh hoi' nothin', 'daout dey debbles 
tek hit. Ef I 'low Pete be took, dey '11 hang him 
'daout a hyarin'. Ef I 'low him git cl'ar, dey '11 fin' 
out ol' Toplins, an' de right man '11 be hung likely. 
Oh, Mis Po'tia, doan tell 'em. I sw'ar Pete nebber 
done hit. Dar's Gabr'ella, she ain' done nuffin' tu 
hab sich a brudder nohow. Miss Po'tia, yo' doan 
know how de worl' are in dis-yer No'th C'liny. I 
kyan' 'low Pete be took." 

"I don't know, Josephus," Portia shook her head. 

With shaking voice he implored, "Oh, doan! I 
sw'ar he won' do no ha'm. I '11 watch 'im an' sen' 
'im away, shuah. Dar 's Gabr'ella ; yo' knows her ? " 

*' Yes, I am sorry for her, but think how dreadful 
to be the means of having any more such awful 
crimes committed." 

**Miss Po'tia, I sw'ar fo' de good Lawd, I kyan' du 
no mo', dat I won' 'low no ha'm come. Doan say 
nuffin' ontwell yo' knows like I knows. Ef Pete 's 
took, dar '11 be murder too, an' de white folks '11 du 
de kiUin'." 

•* Well, I '11 wait a little, Josephus, but it 's a fear- 
ful thing, unless you are perfectly sure." 

*' Ef I wan' pufeckly shuah I would n' ax yo', but, 
Lawd, I kyan' 'low him be took. I knows how dey 
debbles does, I kyan' 'low Pete be took, 'case he 's a 
libbin' critter, an' de way dey does, 'pears lak dey 'd 
hu't 'im ef he war stone daid." He spoke almost in 
a whisper, and she shuddered. " De Lawd bress yo', 



Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms 135 

Miss Po'tia, de Lawd's sun shine on yo' all yo' 
days." 

" Oh, dear ! " she said, looking after him. " What 
can one do? But there, I can't help it now, and I 
am going to keep still." She shut her lips firmly and 
pushed back her hair with both hands. 

** I don't care if it is wet," she said. She tucked 
up her skirts, glanced down the road at a tall dog- 
wood waving over the rail fence, and then at the 
house, where the curtains were still drawn, and 
started on a run, arriving at the goal with rosy 
cheeks and shortened breath. The flowers were 
out of reach, but she climbed the fence and pulled 
the boughs down, loosening her hair and losing her 
hat. '* There ! " she said at last, adding one more 
spray to the heap below. The sun, just rising, 
touched the tops of the hills with gold, while the 
valley still slept beneath the mists. Oh, the enchant- 
ing world ! A fairyland of beauty and song ! She 
sat on the top rail of the fence, and throwing one 
arm around the dogwood, leaned her head against 
it and looked off, watching the mists slowly rise like 
a curtain, revealing the long slopes of meado\y 
beneath and the shining river in the distance. A 
cat-bird in a laurel thicket began singing anew. 
Portia lifted her head, listened a moment, and then 
sang too. 

That tormenting rascal, Cupid, a regular will-o'- 
the-wisp for leading poor men into swamps of 
dilemmas, had perched himself at John Marshall's 
bed's head before daybreak, and pricking him with 
an arrow, had whispered, " Portia Van Ostade," 
in his ear. That was enough. His poor victim 



I 36 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

tossed and turned. If he dozed, it was only to see 
the great hving-room of the old home, and the tea 
table, and Portia's fair face above it. The oftener 
he saw this winning face, the more determined he 
became to some day possess it, — to own it, as it 
were. Men, young men at least, always expect to 
own their wives just as they have owned their 
devoted mothers and sisters. What were wives and 
mothers and sisters created for, if not for men, of 
course? The only creature of womankind a man 
cannot own is his daughter, if he be fortunate 
enough to have one. Her he must educate, earn 
for, live for, and love, that some other man may 
eventually own her. O righteous retribution ! Poor 
fathers of daughters ! 

John bore the torments of the mischievous arrows 
for a time, then rose and plunged his head into a 
basin of cold water, and soon was out in the sweet 
cool air, striding up the red road that led past the 
old home. Cupid made John his sport that morn- 
ing. He led him Into the laurel thicket to get rain- 
jewelled blossoms for Miss Katherine, and there 
persuaded him to sit on a boulder and think It all 
over. There John sat when Josephus rode by with- 
out seeing him, and there he sat when Portia flashed 
by like a bird and stopped just beyond him, and 
his heart had to stand still, and his tongue was 
tied, and wicked little Cupid's work was done in 
that same instant. He laughed and perched on 
the fence at Portia's side, while the birds sang; and 
she, unheeding his presence, or that of the poor 
smitten wanderer in the laurel thicket, turned her 
head this way and that and sang too. 



Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms i 37 

John thought of his dream, the voice that burst 
upon his ear while he waited in the moonHght and 
shadow, sounding again in the beautiful early morn- 
ing, and mingling with the bird-notes in arias and 
trills. Portia sang anything and everything as she 
watched the mists rise. She mixed her songs in a 
joyous medley and invented new caprices, after the 
manner of the cat-bird in the thicket. John sat 
on the boulder, his head between his hands, his 
heart gone. What should he do? Presently she 
stopped singing, and still sat looking off over the 
valley lost in thought. Her lips parted with a 
smile. She was thinking of her caller of the even- 
ing before, and wondering a dozen different things 
about him. 

'* Good-morning." She started to see him stand- 
ing before her. " Is this your custom, to do your 
practising with the birds?" 

She leaped from the fence in haste, as he stepped 
forward to assist her, and laughed while her cheeks 
reddened. ** I got up alone, so I can come down 
alone," she said. " No, indeed, this is not my 
custom. It is the event of a lifetime." 

" What a fortunate man I am, then, to happen 
along as I did ! " 

" No, you are not. The birds put me out. Think 
of all the instruction I have had, and no one teaches 
them." 

" Singing comes by nature, just as the voice 
does. You would sing if you had never had any 
instruction." 

" I was thinking of Haydn's ' Creation ' as I looked 
over the valley ; think of singing the arias in that 



I 38 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

without instruction." She laughed, stooping to 
gather her arms full of the dogwood blossoms. 

*' Let me take those for you. You will be wet; 
they are covered with rain." 

" I don't care now ; I am wet already, — com- 
pletely draggled. Why did you come here and 
catch me in such a plight? I am very particular." 
They both laughed merrily, neither knew why, but 
John took the wet sprays from her as they walked 
on together. 

" Now you can hold up your dress," said he. She 
demurely obeyed. 

" I intended trying to see you to-day, at any rate, 
only not befdre breakfast," he said after a moment's 
silence. *' I have a great favor to ask. I would 
make a bold plunge and ask it now, only that I 
want a good excuse for calling again soon." 

** Does it require so much courage ? " She glanced 
up and saw his eyes fixed on her face. 

** It does indeed. My mother, her ward, her 
maids, and trappings are thinking of swooping down 
on poor little Patterson, to be near me this summer, 
they say. What shall I do? You see, I must 
appeal to you for help." Portia smiled, although 
the color left her face, and then surged back, ting- 
ing her neck and ears, and up into the roots of her 
hair. He saw it, and his heart beat faster. 

" In that case it is I who need courage, not you," 
she said ; '' when will she be here? " 

** I don't know ; they may not come at all, but if 
they do — " he paused, and they both stood still. 
A great drooping acacia hid them from the house- 
Portia looked up and met his eyes once more. 



Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms i 39 

''What shall I do? " she aske^ frankly. '* There 
is no other place." 

" Why need there be? " he replied. 

** That is so," she said, straightening herself 
proudly, and striving once more for self-mastery. 
" Bring them to me certainly, and I will try to 
make them at least comfortable, and — " she hesi- 
tated — ** thank you for telling me in time." Her 
manner had grown cold, but how could he blame 
her? She could not know what he was repressing. 
He felt angry with his mother. Why could she 
not stay away and leave him to woo this fascinating 
enienia before him unmolested? ''She will ruin 
my hopes," he thought; "she will be cruel if she 
once suspects." 

Portia moved to walk on, but John stood still, 
holding her flowers, and looking off not to see her 
motion. He wished to say more, but how? " Miss 
Van Ostade," he said desperately, " I hope — at 
least I am sure — you will be kind enough to under- 
stand me. I know you would prefer to have almost 
any one rather than my mother come into your 
home, but, believe me, you are too sensitive. It is 
very different from what you imagine. This home 
was sold long ago ; it is yours now, not ours, and 
you are an angel of mercy in it. Where could I 
turn in this predicament if you were not here?" 

Portia smiled. " Mrs. Marshall may not disap- 
point me as you did. She may feel all the disgust 
at the present and longing for the past that I 
endued you with." 

" In that case I will take her away. She shall not 
stay to annoy you." 



140 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Portia looked up in astonishment. His manner 
of speaking of his mother seemed cold but for his 
smiling, kindly face. He divined her thoughts. 
** "VVe are not in the least alike, mother and I, but 
we understand each other. Now to me it was 
delightful to see the old home lighted up, and 
to hear music in the old rooms. All the pretty 
little modern touches you have added seemed 
just right. I did not care to have the old time 
back." 

*' Ah, but your mother would, although it is kind 
of you to speak as you do." 

''Kind? I can't help it." 

*' Oh, I think you could. I have thought the sit- 
uation all over. There are many things you might 
think if you were not kind enough to think other- 
wise. Really, I must go back. It is nicer out here, 
but I am not one of your old-time Southern ladies. 
I am dependent on my exertions that we may live, 
— grandfather, mother, and I." He noticed the 
proud lift of her head as they walked on. 

" I am sorry you have thought the situation, as 
you call it, over so much." 

''Why so?" 

" I don't know that I want to tell you," he 
laughed. " Are n't you giving us credit for the 
same sensitiveness you possess in that way? We 
may not deserve it." 

" In what way? " 

"Why, in thinking the situation over, as you say, 
and deciding what we think, and how we would feel, 
before you had even seen us. You see, you must 
have been reckoning from within, out." 



Morning Songs and Dogwood Blooms 1 4 1 

"I understand, — judging others by myself. 
That is wrong, I know, but — " 

" I beg your pardon ! No, no, not wrong. I 
only realize that we must suffer by comparison, 
when you really come to know us." 

" Oh, Mr. Marshall, I am not quite so conceited." 
They had reached the gate. 

" What can I say, what can I do, to make you 
understand me?" he exclaimed. 

" Nothing. Forgive me. It was not your in- 
tention, I know, to make me out conceited, but I 
have had reasons outside of myself for my conclu- 
sions. People here have tried to be friendly, have 
been really kind, but I can see plainly enough that 
I do not answer to their ideas of a lady. To them 
I am a Northern woman keeping boarders, and 
working with my own two hands at homely house- 
hold labor." 

Marshall looked down respectfully at her shapely . 
hands as they held her skirts from the wet grass,, i^^ j^ 
and straight into her eyes. In that instant a simple ^'T't?*' 

telegraphy of mutual understanding passed between « 1 1^ - 

them. 

" I believe you," he said. " What fools they 
are ! " 

*' Oh, no ! I don't think that. Perhaps if I were 
one of them, I should think as they do." 

" If you were one of them, undoubtedly. Thank 
Heaven, you are you." 

" I must go in." She glanced at the house ner- 
vously, and reached for her flowers. " It won't do 
to be seen looking like this. I have had my run, 
now I must don my dignity and wear it all day." 



142 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

She sighed and looked down the road. John smiled 
a little. She turned quickly and caught the telltale 
expression before he could cough it away. In that 
instant she knew he had seen her all the time, and 
felt that she wanted to get away from him immedi- 
ately. In that same instant he knew that she knew 
it, and saw the color flame back into her face. 

** Forgive me; I couldn't help it," he said peni- 
tently, and gave her the flowers. His hand touched 
hers as she took them ; she did not notice it, but 
he did. Some of the sprays fell on the ground. 
*' Never mind them," she said, turning away hur- 
riedly, but he did mind them, and ran after, adding 
them to the rest. 

"I may call again sometime?" he asked. She 
hesitated. He looked distressed. 

*' Indeed, yes, — if you care to — if your — " 

" If my mother comes, of course, it will be neces- 
sary, but that may not be for some time." 

She paused in her rapid walk. He looked at her, 
and she looked up at the still closed house. Some 
one began raising a curtain. *' We shall be glad to 
see you," she said. 

" Thank you," he replied, and hurried away. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE EXCURSION 

PORTIA sat in her place at the breakfast-table, 
a full-blown rose among the ferns and dog- 
wood blossoms. The color that came into her 
cheeks under the arched gateway had not all left. 
Mr. Russell praised the beauty of the flowers, but 
looked at her, much to Mr. Ridgeway's annoyance ; 
however, as all the other guests did the same, 
where was the harm? She was the life and soul of 
the place, and it was the fashion there to admire her. 
When it was not done in too personal a manner, her 
grandfather did not object, but he dearly loved to 
have her to himself once in a while. She alone 
could accompany his violin as he liked, and during 
these days her time was never her own, seldom his ; 
yet she watched over his happiness and her moth- 
er's with jealous eyes, and, in a sense, all her devo- 
tion to her guests was for them. How else could 
she make a success of her undertaking, and keep 
her sweetest of all mothers in that health-giving 
climate? So she went bravely on planning, under 
many difficulties, entertainment for her guests. 
On dull days indoors her musical talent and her 
grandfather's violin formed a delightful feature. 
For their excursions, there being no livery in the 
place, she was obliged to hire from their neighbors 
horses and rigs which, to say the least, were an- 
tiquated. 

143 



144 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

These days, for John, passed happily and busily. 
He spent some time in New York and Asheville, 
making aruangements for the building. Judson 
Chaplain, a hearty, pleasant-voiced young Caro- 
linian gentleman, was won by Marshall's courteous 
frankness into enthusiastic partnership. He re- 
joiced that he need have no dealings with Monk, — 
who, by the way, was not missed for a time, — and 
that a telling blow to that individual's plans would 
be to insure Patterson's superiority over Broadgate, 
by the erection of a hotel, that would ** eclipse 
anything in the country, suh." To this end the 
contract was let to first-class builders in New York, 
who were to bring skilled workmen with them. 
John, being the architect, acted as superintendent. 
He was happy in this work. He felt his spirits rise 
in an exuberance of joyousness as each day passed. 

" If I can strike a bargain for a couple of good 
saddle-horses, will you help me to use them now 
and then? " he asked of Hanford Clark, one day. 
*' I must have one." 

" I doubt if I can get off," said Hanford, ab- 
sently. 

" I shall get two and risk it. It is about time 
you and I struck up an acquaintance, don't you 
think?" 

They both laughed. " Go slowly, John. Does 
the time seem long to you?" 

*'Long? Why should n't it? I would run in 
twenty times a day for a word with you." 

*' Don't yet awhile. At least don't appear to be 
intimate. You see, John," Hanford laid his arm 
affectionately over his friend's shoulder, ** my life 



The Excursion 145 

has not been as successful as yours. I have learned 
to wait." 

Marshall looked in his face frankly. ** To wait 
for what? " he said. 

Hanford laughed a sober little laugh. *' Oh, 
what you please, — fortune, fame, anything. I 
did n't set out to become a station agent down 
here, you know." 

"Why have you never married?" asked John, 
bluntly. 

" For lack of money to make a fit home first, and 
just as that was in reach, lack of health, and then — " 
he spread out both hands with an almost petulant 
motion and lifted his shoulders. 

"Then what?" 

" Another man had stepped in before me." He 
spoke slowly, without looking at John, who laughed 
self-consciously, and drummed on the window ledge. 
They were in Hanford's stuffy little room at 
Scrapp's. 

" Then she may not have been the right one. 
At any rate, ' There are as good fish in the sea as 
ever were caught,' " said John, tritely. 

Hanford glanced keenly in his friend's face. 
** To change the subject, when do you expect 
your mother on? " 

" To continue it, you mean. She never travels 
alone." 

" Very well, as you will." 

" Own up, Hanford, own up. Even you — " 

" You have n't answered my question yet." 

" Oh, beg pardon. What was it? " 

" When will your mother be here? " 
10 



146 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Ah, yes. My mother, of course ! I forget your 
deep interest in her. In about three weeks, more 
or less." 

" So soon.> " said Hanford, but he thought it long 
to wait. 

" Marguerite will only entrap some poor fellow to 
his ruin for her summer pastime. Woe be to who- 
ever falls into her snares ! I shall write mother 
there is no sense in bringing her out here," said 
John, mischievously. 

** Do so," said Hanford, grimly. 

" Too late. My last letter betrayed the fact that 
I found you here. I half suspect that knowledge is 
at the bottom of the sudden determination to spend 
their summer in the mountains." 

" Why should your mother care? " 

'' She would n't." 

" Now you are talking nonsense. What do you 
suppose has become of Monk? I have n't seen 
him for days." 

** I neither know nor care." 

** He 's a great fellow to go off now with the 
election coming on next week. His interests are 
suffering, I can tell him that." 

"Let them suffer. Who cares?" said John, 
stretching himself leisurely. *' Look over that trestle 
yonder. I have been watching those buzzards sail 
round and round in one spot ever since we stood 
here. There, one has lighted away down below on 
that dead tree." 

" Some poor carcass there, no doubt," said Han- 
ford. They both stood watching the ominous birds 
a moment, each busy with his own thoughts. 



The Excursion 147 

" I must go," said Marshall at length. " See 
here, you have night service to relieve you now, 
why do you stay on in this hole? Go up to the 
old place, — Miss Van Ostade's, I mean." 

" I think I will." A few days later found him in- 
stalled at the house, seated at Mr. Ridgeway's right, 
at table, a valuable addition to the small coterie 
there. 

The next day John made choice of saddle-horses. 
He was very particular with regard to the extra 
horse, that it should be suitable for a lady to ride. 
He whistled softly a measure of one of Portia's songs 
as he walked away after the bargain was completed. 
Suddenly a thought struck him. " There are no 
saddles to be had in Patterson. She can't ride 
bareback." When the animals were led into the 
stables at Miss Katherine's, behold, the pretty little 
chestnut mare, which had been recommended to 
him as being " gentle as a kitten," was equipped for 
a lady's use, even to the carved, ivory-handled whip. 

John was impatient and restless. He begged 
Miss Katherine to go with him at once to try them, 
and as they galloped over the mountain road, the 
color came into her cheeks and the fire to her eyes. 
She talked brightly as of old. The old times seemed 
really coming back to her. When John lifted her 
from the saddle, he thought she seemed ten years 
younger. Ah, what a beautifier happiness is ! She 
sang a bit of an old song he had heard her sing 
years before, as she prepared their simple dinner, 
stopping every now and then to admonish Gertrude. 
The child went to and fro, carrying dishes from the 
kitchen — a separate building a rod away from the 



1 48 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

house — to the dining-room. John smiled as he 
Hstened to the low, sweet tones and the pleasant 
clatter. 

Mrs. Wells sat at an old-fashioned grand piano 
and made pretty tinkling music, such as she had 
made for the colonel in her young ladyhood. John 
wondered where her thoughts were, as she played 
over the tripping airs with their rippling accompani- 
ment. A portrait of the colonel, stiff and dignified, 
hung in the great square room. Her sightless eyes 
were turned toward it. He saw her through the 
open French window from where he sat on the 
piazza, and a suspicious moisture gathered in his 
eyes. He rose and sauntered down the path, and 
smelled of Miss Katherine's lilies. '' If Donald 
had only lived ! " he thought. 

" John, dinnah is on the table," called Miss 
Katherine from the doorway. *' Come, ma." 

The meal over, Gertrude brought a pan of hot 
water, and Katherine washed the few pieces of china 
and the old silver and glasses herself. *' Gertrude is 
so careless," she said. 

Half an hour later John strolled toward the old 
home, drawn thither by sundry little cords called 
heart-strings. He had been there before that week, 
and was trying to think of some adequate excuse 
for calling again so soon, when a rattling team and 
a merry whistle caused him to look behind him. 
The two young planters were driving home from 
their orchard among the hills. 

'' Going our way? " said Richard. '' I 'd ask you 
to ride if there was only another seat." 

" I am on my way to Mr. Ridgeway's. Thanks." 



The Excursion 149 

" I guess we can make room for you up here," 
said James Craig, hitching along. 

" No, no, sit still. I can stand and enjoy the 
ride," said Marshall. Placing one hand on the rear 
oi the long wagon-box, he leaped lightly in and 
stood, steadying himself by the shoulders of the 
two on the high spring seat in front, and they 
drove on. 

** We have a go on hand this evening," said Craig. 
*' We are to seat this wagon with bundles of fodder 
and cushions, and the crowd are to pile in and drive 
over to Towanee Gorge. The negroes are having a 
big time there." 

" Heavens ! What a dolt ! " exclaimed Marshall. 
*' They were kind enough to include me in the 
party, and it had entirely slipped my memory." 
Richard laughed, and the wagon rattled on. 

Portia stood on the steps, smiling, enthusiastic. 
The elderly gentleman stood near. Mrs. Van Ostade 
moved quietly among the guests who were collected 
on the piazza, with her arms full of wraps. 

'* You would better take this shawl," she said to 
Mrs. Clare. "The air seems mild enough now, but 
later in the evening it may be quite cool." 

" Oh, you thoughtful little woman ! Thank you." 

"Do you think she ought to go?" said Miss 
Milbourn. 

" Indeed she ought, and you too," cried Portia. 
" Where is your bonnet? I will get it." She disap- 
peared in the house. 

"Aren't you going, Mrs. Keller?" said Mr. 
Betts, drawing on his gloves, alert and ready, with 
his umbrella under his arm. 



1 50 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" No, I think I will leave all this nonsense to the 
young folks," she said, glancing at the elderly- 
gentleman. 

*' What, what ! " said he ; '* it won't do to let them 
have all the interesting things to themselves. I 
don't believe in growing old. Keep young, I 
say." 

Mr. and Mrs. Percy came down the long stair- 
way. " Why, Miss Milbourn, are you not going 
with us ? " they asked in a breath. 

" Yes," said Mrs. Clare, '' Miss Van Ostade has 
gone for her bonnet." 

" I think as I am old, and there will hardly be 
room for all in the wagon, perhaps — " 

" Oh, but the carriage is going," said Portia, re- 
turning, '* and I have the use of the Gebbs' buggy; 
two can go in that." She caught the dear old lady, 
turned her about, and tied the bonnet under her 
chin. *' There ! The moon will be up as we come 
back, and this is the last moonlight evening this 
month. Now you and grandfather and Mrs. Clare 
must take the carriage, and Alexander will drive, 
and you, Mr. Russell" (to the elderly gentleman), 
" will have to go in the wagon with us, — unless — " 

" Can't I drive with you in the Gebbs* buggy? 
That will leave two extra places in the wagon." 

Instantly there was an outcry on all sides. *' Oh, 
no ! " '' What an idea ! " 

** We want Miss Van Ostade with us." 

Portia felt annoyed, but smiled pleasantly. ** You 
see, Mr. Russell, I can stand the rough wagon ride 
better than some," she said in a low tone to her 
discomfited admirer. 



The Excursion 151 

Hanford Clark was just coming up one driveway 
as the wagon rattled up the other. " Here they 
come," shouted Mr. Betts. 

" Ah, Mr. Marshall, so you did not forget about 
our little excursion," said Portia. 

James Craig began arranging the bundles of 
fodder passed up to him by a negro boy, and 
placing the cushions for the seats. He glanced up 
quickly at John and laughed. A serving-maid stood 
by with her arms full of rugs. 

** Forget? Of course he did," said Richard. 
*' Jim and I picked him up down the road and 
brought him on by main force. Hello, Mr. Clark, 
glad to see you." 

'' I was on my way here in spite of Mr. Button," 
said John. 

''Now we are ready, aren't we, Mr. Craig? " said 
Portia. She ran back into the house for something 
and was detained by Maggie. 

" See here," said Dick aside to Mrs. Barry, '' Jim 
and I have a scheme. You hustle them all in, — 
the carriage load is made up, — and contrive so 
that Mr. Russell sits with Miss Keller. He 's manoeu- 
vring to be left behind to drive in the Gebbs' buggy 
with Miss Van Ostade, Mr. Betts says. We'll do it 
before he knows what 's happened, and start before 
she gets back." 

" Good," exclaimed Mrs. Barry with keen relish, 
*' but who will go with her? " 

" Oh, leave her to Mr. Marshall. He won't 
object, I '11 warrant. Hello ! All aboard for Towanee 
Gorge," he shouted, gathering up the reins. ''Jim, 
where are you ? " Craig gravely helped Mrs. Barry 



152 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

in, then came Mr. and Mrs. Percy. " Get Mr. 
Russell to follow you," said Mrs. Barry as they 
settled themselves. 

'* Come, Mr. Russell," said Mr. Percy. "We 
need another gentleman next." 

*' Now Miss Keller," said Craig. 

'* Where is Miss Van Ostade? " said Mr. Russell, 
looking about. 

*' She '11 be here immediately," cried Mrs. Barry, 
hilariously. " Get in here on this seat with Miss 
Keller, and Portia can sit on the other side. There 
is room to sit three on a seat, is n't there, Mr. 
Cfaig?" 

*' Certainly, certainly ! Here, Mr. Russell, that 's 
not fair, to monopolize all the ladies. I ought to 
have that seat, or Mr. Clark there." 

John, conversing with Mrs. Van Ostade, looked 
on, only half comprehending the badinage. 

"No," said Hanford, "you and Mr. Russell 
decide that between you. I '11 sit at the end with 
Mr. Betts." 

" That 's right, Mr. Russell, climb in, or Mr. Craig 
will be ahead of you," said Mrs. Barry. 

" There, Jim ! You '11 have to content yourself 
with me once more," said Dick. "You're no 
match for Mr. Russell." 

" Right you are," said Craig. " All aboard." 

"Ay, ay," cried Mr. Betts. 

" We 're off," said Dick, waving his whip. 

"Why, but Mr. Marshall and Miss Van Ostade 
are neither of them in," said Miss Keller. 

" I '11 go for her," said the elderly gentleman, 
rising. The horses sprang forward at a quiet 



The Excursion 153 

little fillip from the whip, and he sat down again 
quicker than he got up. " Oh, beg pardon," said 
Richard. 

"How now! We are not starting," said Mr. 
Russell, discomfited. " There she is now," he beck- 
oned frantically. 

" Oh, nev^er mind, we shall have to go slower 
than the carriage, the wagon jolts so, sha'n't we, 
Mr. Button ? " said Mrs. Barry, complacently. " The 
carriage has started, and the buggy is coming for 
them." 

Mr. Russell made one more attempt to stem the 
tide against him. " But Miss Van Ostade may not 
like it. I think she is beckoning us to wait." 

** No, she is signalling us to go on," said Craig, 
and they went. As they drove out of one gate, 
Mr. Gebb's small darky boy entered by the other, 
driving a little gray mare hitched to a buckboard. 

** Is that the buggy? " said Portia, dismayed. 

" Yas 'm," said the impassive youngster. 

" I ought to have seen it before I engaged it. 
Why did they start in such a hurry? There would 
have beefi room for us in the wagon. This was 
only intended as a contingency, so to speak." 

" Why, what 's the matter with it? " said Marshall, 
walking around the rude outfit, and pulling a little 
here and there at the straps of the old harness. 
" It's a mighty good sort of a contingency, that's 
what I think. Shall we start?" 

*' I suppose we must, if we make this little gray 
thing keep up with that team of Mr. Button's." 

He stepped back and took her wraps, and seeing 
a thick traveller's rug on the piazza, he arranged it 



1 54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

over her side of the seat for her comfort. She 
watched him doubtfully. 

'' That is Mr. Russell's. He must have intended 
taking it. Perhaps that is what they were stopping 
at the gate for." 

" We will take it to him, then," said John, laugh- 
ing. Portia sprang lightly in, and he followed, with 
a delight in the situation not easily disguised. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE GIRL AT THE GERMAN BRIDGE 

" ^^"^ OOD-BYE, Mrs. Keller. Take good care of 



G 



mamma," called Portia, as they drove off, 
tilting up and down with the easy sway of the long 
buckboard as it passed over uneven places in the 
road. " This is fun. It makes me think of the days 
when I played see-sav/." 

** I call it an improvement on the old plan ; the 
board being hung at both ends instead of in the 
middle, we can both tilt up and down in the centre. 
It 's more sociable." 

'* Oh, dear ! The wagon is so far ahead it will be 
out of sight. Do you know the way? I don't." 

*' I do, unless the hills have changed places since 
I was a boy." 

Portia drew in a deep breath and looked quietly 
about her. She loved the mountain air, sweet with 
the scent of growing things, and the glowing colors 
in the sky, where the sun seemed sinking into a 
seething furnace. " Without coming to the moun- 
tains and living among them, one never could know 
how beautiful the world is," she said. 

*' I have been where the mountains are much 
grander, in Switzerland, and among the Rockies ; 
but I must say these North Carolina hills have a 
fascination peculiarly their own." 

They were both silent a few minutes, — she calmly 
happy in these moments of relief from care, and he 



1 56 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

intoxicated with a delight he dared not show. At 
last he broke in upon her quiet reflection. 

** It is the strangest thing — I always think of 
some one I saw only for a moment over in Germany, 
when I look at you, — it seems as if you must be 
she." 

"That is odd. Was she a German?" 

** I don't know." 

** If you had said in Holland I would think you 
might have seen a descendant of some possible 
Dutch ancestor of mine." 

" No, it was in Germany near the Danish bound- 
ary. I saw her only a moment, and never since, 
but I always connect you with the incident." 

** Oh ! I wonder — " she leaned forward and 
looked at him with a new light in her eyes. " Please 
go on." 

'* What do you wonder? Tell me that first." 

*' No, I interrupted you, and I can't wait. Was 
it in Schleswig? " 

''Were you ever there?" She laughed. "See 
here ! I want to know if you ever saw me 
before." 

" No," she replied, " I have n't even a vague im- 
pression that I ever saw you before or any one like 
you, until that day in old Clarissa's cabin." 

" But you have been abroad? " 

" Yes, nearly two years. But please tell me what 
you were going to." 

" But look at me squarely first and tell me if 
you ever saw me before." 

" I have looked at you squarely, and now I tell 
you roundly I will not answer any more questions 



The Girl at the German Bridge 157 

until you go on with what you were going to say 
when I interrupted you." 

They turned a curve and came in sight of the 
wagon rattHng merrily on before. They were 
greeted by a waving of handkerchiefs, and Portia 
answered with a gay call. 

*' Let us keep this far behind them," said John. 
" It will be pleasanter." 

*' I would rather. Sometimes I long to be alone. 
To-night I was tired, and really felt glad they 
started on as they did." 

" And you were not allowed the privilege of 
being alone, after all. What a pity I could not 
have known ! " 

" You know very well I did n't mean that, but if 
you won't go on and tell me about the girl you saw 
in Germany, I will say I did." 

" No, please. I will tell you anything rather, 
only I don't believe you would say it even if you 
thought it." 

** Perhaps not, but this I will say, you are cruel 
to keep me in suspense." 

" After all, there is little to tell. I was sketching 
a quaint old bridge, and bit of river and rock, when 
a party came toward me from the other side, riding 
rapidly, and the foremost had passed on, when the 
horse of one of the ladies began plunging and rear- 
ing. He took fright at my umbrella and canvas, or 
possibly at me. I thought for an instant they would 
both go over the side of the bridge, but in a moment 
she had regained the mastery and they dashed on. 
That is all, but this is the strange part. When I first 
saw you, that whole scene at the bridge away off 



158 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

there In Germany flashed into my mind, even the 
color of her dress and her horse, and the appear- 
ance of the two gentlemen of the party who seemed 
to be her particular escort, all came back to me as 
if it had occurred yesterday; yet they came and 
were gone before I could collect my traps and my 
senses." 

"Why, this is like a bit from a novel. I was 
almost sure you were going to tell that very incident. 
I have always wondered who the artist was. You 
were so quick to get your things out of the way, 
and I never should have gotten control of that horse 
if you had not caught his bridle and led him by. 
After the excitement was over I remember feeling 
that I had not even thanked you." 

*'I don't remember touching the bridle. Perhaps, 
after all, your young man was not I, nor my young 
lady you." 

'' What was the color of her habit? " 

" Green." 

*' So was mine, and what had she on her head?" 

*' Nothing. I always wondered why she rode 
bareheaded." 

" Then surely it was I. My horse was badly 
trained and very nerv^ous. He had acted badly once 
before, and my hat, one of these horrid high ones, fell 
off, and he put his foot through it and wore it for an 
anklet until I could stop him. I wonder my neck 
was not broken." 

" Thank Heaven ! " said John to himself. 

*' Oh, I wish I had not told you how I came to be 
riding bareheaded in a pleasure party. I should 
have kept that for a mystery." 



The Girl at the German Bridge 159 

" It Is a mystery without that. To meet as we did 
in that instant, and then here, in this out-of-the-way 
place again, coUided as it were, over poor old 
Mammy Cl'issy, it would seem as if we were fated 
to — " 

"Become acquainted? " she asked, forestalling a 
more serious conclusion. 

" Yes, become acquainted." 

'* Maybe, but I am not the least bit of a fatalist." 

" Decreed by Providence, then?" 

" I think things just happen sometimes. I don't 
believe in attributing every strange thing to occult 
influence, like saying it is fate, or Providence, you 
know, that brings about such odd meetings as ours. 
Do you?" 

" Some say there is no such thing as chance." 

" I know, but perhaps some are mistaken," she 
said with a merry glance in his face. 

" I hope not," he said gravely. 

*' Do you think Providence plans every single 
thing that takes place in this world ? " 

He laughed. *' ' There 's a divinity that shapes 
our ends, rough-hew them how we will.' Aunt 
Mary taught me to believe that." 

" Oh, dear ! How little we know of what our 
futures are to bring ! Mine is so different from — 
I presume our plans are nothing but dreams, after 
all." 

" Perhaps you formed your plans too early in life 
to have them definite." She was silent, and he 
wondered what they might have been. 

They drove dow^n a sharp declivity, and through 
a small stream that made a pleasant sound in their 



i6o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

ears. The sun was set, and the air had grown cooler. 
He unfolded her wrap and placed it about her with 
a gentle thoughtfulness that pleased her. They 
heard the wagon in the distance rumbling; on. 

" Shall we hurry a little? " he asked. 

*' If we are nearly there, no. If not, I suppose we 
must." 

'* I '11 let the little nag take her time, then." 

** I only meant — it 's pleasanter here than crowded 
in that little cabin with a lot of negroes. Do those 
who have been born and brought up among them 
feel that repugnance to them? Is it a natural feel- 
ing? I can be kind to them and like them well 
enough, and I do truly want to see them improve 
and become good educated citizens, and all that, and 
I always feel like taking their part, but I can't bear 
to have them touch me, poor souls." 

" Oh, I don't know. It's a matter of custom, I 
guess. I never felt any of it. Take old Clarissa 
now. I used to cuddle up in her arms and go to 
sleep, I remember it well ; and as for the piccanin- 
nies, they were regular little playmates, and no end 
of fun." 

" How strange ! How could you ? " Portia 
shuddered. 

"You Northern people never really did the South- 
erners justice in a way. When it comes right down 
to plain facts, we like the colored people better than 
you do. Why, I actually loved that old mammy." 

** And there I could n't bear to touch her," said 
Portia, humbly. *' I fear you are right. Of course, 
we thought slavery horrible, but at heart we were n't 
much kinder, only a little more just, don't you think? 



The Girl at the German Bridge i6i 

I 'm not used to them yet. There 's Lucyleese, the 
maid who brought out the cushions, almost as white 
as I am, she wanted to dress my hair the other day, 
when I was tired, and I could not let her. I am sure 
for myself it is innate repugnance. It can't be educa- 
tion, because I have tried to overcome it, and all my 
education has been against allowing such a feeling." 

*' Why should you try to overcome it ? " 

" Because I think it wrong." 

" Please explain. You are worlds higher up in 
the scale of creation, why should you try to place 
them on a level with yourself ? " 

" Perhaps if our standards were other than human 
ones, some of the blackest of these might rank much 
higher than I." 

Marshall laughed, and leaning forward, stole a 
quick glance at her face as he touched the horse 
with the whip. "You have n't told me yet why you 
fight against your own nature," he said. " I recog- 
nize a difference, but I accept it. I no more try to 
look upon them as other than they are than I would 
imbue this horse with my attributes, and try to con- 
verse with him. To me a horse is a horse, and a 
negro is a negro, and not a white man." 

She turned on him a look of horror. " Why, 
Mr. Marshall, you believe them human beings with 
souls like ours, do you not, undying ?" 

" Certainly ; but are all souls the same kind or 

quality? They are black human beings; we are 

white ones. There are fundamental differences. 

Can you expect to overcome a repugnance that 

the finer, more sensitive nature must feel toward 

a coarser one ? " 
II 



1 62 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Portia looked away, speaking slowly. '' What 
you say seems true, but it does not make me feel 
right. You see, I feel, after all, that only evil 
should excite repugnance in one human being 
toward another, not mere differences in color. The 
reason should be more than skin deep, — should lie 
in the heart." Marshall did not answer imme- 
diately, and she resumed : " For instance, old 
Clarissa, just before you came in, was showing me 
trinkets she had kept with such care because you 
had given them to her, and telling me about her 
'Young Mars'r;' and when you entered at that 
moment, how her old face lighted up ! Can you 
ever forget that expression? Of what quality is her 
soul, do you think? Her look at you condemned 
me. It was heavenly." 

" Do you expect me to solve the problem by 
answering all those questions? " said John, laughing. 
** I 'm afraid we are getting into deep waters." 

*'What shall we do, sink or swim?" she asked 
with a responsive laugh. 

"Why, swim, of course. We always do." 

They relapsed into silence, each thinking his own 
thoughts. John vaguely wondered who were her 
companions when he saw her first. Had he set her 
thinking of some love affair? If she would only 
speak, and give him a clew to her thoughts, — but 
no, when she did speak it was only of the present. 

" How dark it is cfrowincr ! How wild it is here ! 
Are these the same roads you used to ride over 
when you were a boy?" 

" The very same, but they were in better repair 
then." 



The Girl at the German Bridge 163 

" People seem to have lost heart here. They all 
seem so dispirited." 

" No wonder ! VVe were so badly used by you 
Northerners a few years ago." 

'' You say we. You spent over half your life in 
the North with us. Do you count yourself one of 
them?" 

" Certainly I do. My father lost his life in the 
Southern army ; how could I help it? " He straight- 
ened himself, lifting his head proudly. In the 
gathering dusk she ventured to look more intently 
at him, and thought him handsome at that moment. 

" Do you wonder I fear your mother's coming 
when I see how deeply you feel about the past? " 

*' Ah, but it is past," he answered with a quick 
smile. *' The old animosities are dead and should 
be buried along with the brave fellows who fought 
so desperately on both sides. At least, we of the 
younger generation, who have never fought, should 
not revive them." 

" Yes, you are right. Yet ever since I have lived 
here I have felt the past hanging over me like a 
cloud. I have been happy, but it seems to confront 
me everywhere I turn." 

" I see it also, but clouds are never stable. It is 
only the shadow of the old troubles, — the flying 
edge of the storm that has passed over. Coming 
from the North, where all is thrift and enterprise, 
you may feel the depressed state of affairs more 
than they do." 

** Now you say they, not we. I guess when it 
comes to the present, you do not feel so much one 
of them, after all." 



1 64 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" In sympathy I am, in feeling not. They need 
stirring up down here." 

"They need something to look forward to. 
There is nothing so utterly hopeless as hopeless- 
ness. There is a sweet old blind lady I have met. 
She seems really to enjoy life more than her 
daughter, for she has all the past in which she lives, 
while the daughter has more of the hopeless future 
before her with its loneliness." 

" I am there now. They were my father's dearest 
friends. Will you go with me sometime and sing 
for Mrs. Wells? Everything done for the mother 
gives Miss Katherine pleasure. They are really 
very charming." ^ 

" I would love to do it." The deep bay of 
a hound near by startled her. '* I wish men 
would n't hunt with hounds. It is cruel," she said 
impetuously. 

" This is some hound hunting on his own account, 
I guess." 

*' What a weird place we have come to ! There, 
where the shadows are black among the under- 
growth, I seem to see figures moving. See, is that 
a man?" 

"Some burnt stump, no doubt. It is a weird 
place. Are you timid? There is nothing to fear. 
I have been here hundreds of times." 

" I 'm not afraid. I am enjoying the strangeness 
of it all. I love to be in wild places and imagine 
dreadful things." 

" Imagine your dreadful things quickly, then, while 
the opportunity lasts. We are almost there." She 
laughed merrily. " How can 3^ou, and laugh like 



The Girl at the German Bridge 165 

that? Tell me the horrible things you are imagining, 
so I may laugh too." 

'' Where does this interminable road end? " 

" Does it seem so long? You are cruel. It is 
very short. It cuts across the gorge here, and there 
is a horse trail leading to the cabin which is more 
interesting. It winds along skirting the stream. I 
have two saddle-horses now, very good ones, I 
think. Miss Katherine and I tried them this after- 
noon. Will you ride with me here sometime? " 

** Oh, Mr. Marshall," she said, drawing in a deep 
breath, " I have been longing for a ride over these 
hills ever^since we have been here." 

*' Then we will go," he said gladly. Just then 
lights gleamed out ahead of them, and they came 
upon the wagon and carriage in a small level space, 
where the rest of the party were waiting them. 



% 



CHAPTER XIII 
"WEN DE GATES LIFT UP DEIR HMDS" 



H 



ELLO ! So you 're not lost," said Dick 
Button. " We are to leave the horses 
here in charge of Alexander and foot it a few rods 
along the mule-path." 

It had grown quite dark, but by the aid of lan- 
terns they made their way merrily along the trail. 
A group of negroes on ahead were singing as they 
walked. 

** Why do they have their church so far from the 
village?" asked Mrs. Barry. 

*' They seem to have a fancy for having them in 
wild out-of-the-way places," said Marshall. " You 
may come upon one anywhere among these 
mountains." 

" A negro church, or a moonshine still," said 
Dick. 

The narrow path bordered steep declivities in 
some places. The flickering light of their lanterns 
made the darkness visible, and the chasms seen 
more awful, lending a touch of excitement to 
excursion. 

'* What kind of a gathering is this we are going 
to?" said Mrs. Percy. ** I wish Mr. Held were with 
us. Could an artist paint such a weird effect as 
this?" 

i66 



tne 



(( 



W'tn de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 1 67 

** They are holding protracted meetings, and hav- 
ing a revival," said Mr. Ridgeway. " Alexander has 
been off duty every evening this week because of 
them." 

** I have some twinges of conscience," said Miss 
Milbourn. 

''Why so?" said Mr. Russell. 

" Going just out of curiosity. It seems not 

right." 

** We 're not going like a parcel of bad boys," 
said Craig. '* My conscience is all right." 

** How long since? " said Dick. 

" Here we are," said Mr. Betts. " Hear them 
singing? " 

'' That sounds like a dirge," said Mrs. Clare. 

" They seem to be marching," he replied. 

The door of the rude cabin stood open, and the 
light streamed in long rays out into the darkness. 
Within, black . figures could be seen, their bodies 
swaying, and their feet and in some instances their 
hands also, keeping time to the singing with a gen- 
tle patter. A few negroes hung around outside the 
door, and others were still coming along the trail. 
The singing ceased, and the voice of an old man was 
heard in prayer. The quavering tones rose and fell 
with a monotonous insistence that seemed to blend 
0th the sounds of the waterfall and the wind among 
the tree-tops. The cabin, the same in which the 
political meeting had been held, was lighted by tal- 
low candles stuck in rude improvised candle-sticks, — 
pieces of wood with holes bored in them, in which the 
candles were put, — thrust here and there between 
the chinks of the loes. The visitors waited without 



1 68 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

until the prayer ceased. Now and then would be 
heard a groan or a cry, " Amen, bress de Lawd." 
These sounds grew more frequent as the prayer 
progressed. 

John stood near Portia. " I presume you have 
attended these meetings often," she said. " I never 
did before." 

" Indeed, yes. A negro revival was a regular 
thing. The masters encouraged them. They con- 
sidered a nigger worth more who had experienced 
religion." 

*' How horrible ! " she said under her breath. 

Marshall, bending toward her, caught the words. 
** Yes," he said, in a low voice, " I see it now ; I 
didn't then." 

Again the bay of a hound awoke the echoes, start- 
ling Portia as before. " What a hideous sound ! " 
she said. 

" I have heard the blood-hounds bay in the night 
when they were tracking some runaway nigger, the 
most unearthly noise you could imagine. This 
sounds as if it might be one of their descendants." 

" Oh, don't let us think of those horrible things 
here in this wonderful, beautiful spot. I wish I 
may never hear a hound bay again. I shall always • 
think of what you have just said." 

" I thought you liked to think of dreadful things 
in these wild places." 

" Oh, not those that have really happened." 

The moon, creeping up over the mountain top, 
looked like a rim of fire. The prayer ceased, and 
they entered, seating themselves on the rough 
benches near the door, which were vacated for 



" Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 1 69 

them with prompt courtesy. Portia was glad they 
did not have to go farther into the close, dimly 
lighted room. Negroes of all ages filled the cabin 
in curious variety of motley attire. Josephus' rich 
tones rolled out in starting the next hymn, followed 
by Gabriella's high treble, while every voice sounded 
strong in the chorus. 

" Oh, frien's, don' yo' b'leeb me ? 
Oh, frien's, don' yo' b'leeb me ? 
Oh, frien's, don' yo' b'leeb me .'' 

Come hyar what Jesus say. 

" We 's gvvine tu hab a hyarin', 
We '.s gwine tu hab a hyarin'. 
We 's gwine tu hab a hyarin'. 

At de awful jedgemen' day." 

The service, a mixture of praying, exhorting, and 
singing, grew more fervid, and the ejaculations 
louder and more frequent, as the moments passed, 
until it became almost impossible to make out what 
was being said. The leader was one adored by 
the colored people, and a general favorite among 
the whites. He never talked politics, but confined 
himself to his own simple interpretation of the 
Scriptures, travelling wherever he felt the spirit 
move, to preach and hold protracted meetings. 
A picturesque figure he was, tall and spare, with 
intensely black skin, which looked the more dense 
owing to his heavy head of snow-white wool. In 
the dim obscurity of the room he appeared posi- 
tively uncanny. Now in the midst of the confusion 
he rose, and there was instant silence. He an- 
nounced that a contribution would be taken up. 



170 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

A hymn was sung in rhythmic chant, while the 
congregation, by twos and threes, walked forward, 
all singing together, passed in front of the preacher, 
and laid their money on the table, passing around 
it and back to their seats in time to the music, in 
such a manner as to avoid moving in each other's 
way. In the uncertain light, the grotesque proces- 
sion seemed to be performing some heathen rite, or 
witch dance. This ceremony over, two men passed 
their hats, giving their visitors a chance to be 
benevolent. 

Then old Pauldo, the preacher, holding his 
worn Bible in his hand, whole chapters of which 
he could repeat by rote, although he could nei- 
ther read nor write, gave out his text: ** Lift up 
your heads, O ye gates ; even lift them up, ye ever- 
lasting doors ; and the King of glory shall come 
in ; " and proceeded to detail the glories of the com- 
ing of the Lord. This was his favorite theme. 

" Oh, bredren, hoi' up yo' han's in pra'r, fo' de 
King ob g'ory baoun' tu come. He may come in 
de lightnin' an* de sto'm-claoud, — he may come in 
de evenin' w'en de sun go daoun yandah 'hine de 
maount'n, — he may come in de mawnin* w'en de 
cock crow, — yo' kyan' rightly tell w'en he gwine 
sen' de angel Gabr'el blow de ho'n, but w'en de 
Lawd come, de glory gwine come tu. De glory 
gwine come tu, bredren, an' we-all wha' has kep' de 
comman's o' de Lawd hyahin spaounded an' 
splained, wha I done preachify tu yo' all dese y'ars, 
is gwine be tuk cl'ar up tu de glory. We 's gwine 
walk de streets ob gol'." (" Ahmen, bress de 
Lawd.") ** We-all 's gwine be playin' on de gol' 



I 



" Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 171 

ha'ps, 'n' w'ar'n' de gol' crowns 'n' de white clo'es 
wha' shine hke de moon yandah wid de gre't shinin' 
Hght f'om de t'ron' o' de Lamb. 

** O bredren, what glory '11 be dar w'en de gates 
lif up deir haids, 'n' de Lawd come through, like de 
shinin' sun, wid de angels follerin' a'ter a-walkin' on 
de claouds, an' wavin' deir palms, an' swinging deir 
shinin' gyarments, an' singin', * Glory Hallelujah fo' 
de Lawd come daoun.' O bredren, we-all 's gwine 
be dar tu jine in de song. Oh, de glad h'ahts an' de 
free ban's an' de white skins, like de white angels in 
heaben." 

** We-all's gwine be dar, Brudder Pauldo," cried a 
withered old soul, swaying back and forth, with the 
tears streaming down her cheeks. 

" Oh, yas, yas, we '11 be dar. Glory ! Glory ! " 

** De debble gwine be knock daoun, an' chain' on 
de bottom o' de flo'less pit." 

"Whar'U be de tears den, my bredren 'n' my 
sistahs? Oh, dey'U be wipe' away. Whar '11 be de 
achin' feet an' de heaby h'ahts? Oh, dey '11 be light 
like de wing ob de bird, like de bol' ob de cotton 
w'en de pickin' time come." New shouts and cries 
of " Glory" burst forth. '' Hyah what I tells yo'," 
he said, and all was still again. 

** All yo'-uns wha' nebber war convarted, git daoun 
on yo* knees an' call on de Sperit fo' tu hyar de 
pra'rs o' de righteous. Ben' de knee, an' bow de 
haid. Kyan' yo' gib yo'se'fs up tu pra'r? De 
bressed Jesus done pray tu de Fadah; I done seed 
'im. Hyar wha' I tells yo'," he said again as the 
responses grew fervent. He was going to tell his 
vision, he always told his vision, and his hearers 



1 72 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

always listened with breathless attention, like the 
children they were, to the oft-told tale. 

** I mine de time w'en I wan' mo' 'n a lad like 
dis 'n' peekin' in de windah yandah " (the faces in- 
stantly left the window and appeared at the door). 
" My mars'r owned a lime kiln an' I war 'bleeged tu 
mine de kiln all night, — 'case yo' kyan' 'low de fiah 
bu'n low in de kiln 'daout yo' spile de lime, suah, — 
I mine de niggahs been hol'n' pertraked meet'n's like 
we-all been horn' heah, an' dar come 'long mighty 
pow'ful preacher f'om Cha'leston wha' spaoun' de 
scripter an' tell we-all a heap 'baouts de day ob 
wrath an' de day ob glory ; 'baouts de fiahs ob 
hell like de bu'nin' fiah in de kiln ; 'baouts de 
streets ob gol' whar de saints walkin' in deir white 
robes, playin' on deir ha'ps o' gol' an' singin' in 
de New Jerusalem, an' I hyar all he a-talkin' an' 
de words he done spoke wid de tongue ob flame, 
fall on my bad, ha'd h'aht like de spa'ks ob libin' 
fiah fall on de col' ha'd stone in de lime kiln, 
w'en we sta'ts up de heat. My bredren, I know'd 
de Lawd callin' me. I done wait all day fo' de 
fiah ob de preachah's wo'ds tu bu'n dat ar bad 
ha'dness aout'n my h'a't, an' I wait all night sitt'n' 
dar by de kiln, an' I feel de ol' h'a't in me still hke 
de col' ha'd stone. 

*' Nex' day mars'r le' me off once mo' an' I go 'g'in 
tu hyah de preachah an' dar he tell haow de Lawd 
done fas' in de wild'ness. I did n' know wha' no 
wild'ness war. My mars'r would n' le' me go tu no 
wild'ness, but I 'lowed I 'd fas' tu, like de Lawd done 
fas' an' I 'lowed p'raps de h'a't melt daoun wid de 
fas'n like gol' in de furnace, an' de debble leab go 



*' Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 173 

an' le' me git cl'ar fo' tu go tu glory an' be free in 
de New Jerusalem. I did n' eat nuff'n' dat day, an' all 
dat night I sot by de fiah, an' feed de fiah in de 
kiln, an' dar I call on de Sperit tu set me free, but 
de debble hoi' on like deff, bredren. De debble 
nebber leab go w'en he gits a fa'r holt. He nebber 
leab go he's own se'f I kin tell yo' dat ar de troof. 
An' dar I set lookin' in de kiln, an' de fiah bu'nin' 
white hot, an' de stone crumblin', an' dar 'pears like 
I see — wha' yo' s'posses I see? Bredren, I see de 
Hebrew chillen in deir shinin' robes like silvah, 
a-walkin' in de fiah, an' a-trompin' daown de stone 
like, an' a hol'in' aout deir ban's, a-movin' raoun' like 
dey steppin' some high-toned dance in de fiah, an' 
den, bredren, I could n' look no mo'. I jes' cry aout 
like I see kingdom come, an' run daoun in de hollah 
'hine de kiln, an' dar I falls on my knees an' call on 
de Sperit like I nebber gwine draw breff no mo', an' 
I feel de debble pullin' back an' I cry aout, ' Naw, yo' 
don'. Yo' gwine leab go dis time.' An' I call on de 
Sperit 'g'in, an' dar all on a suddent come a bright 
light streamin' long fo' sun-up, an' de light grow 
brighter ontwell I kiver up my eyes wid my ban's 
like dis-a-way, an' a'ter a while I look, an' I see, — 
wha' yo' s'posses I see? I see a tall raoun' post of 
shinin' light, an' top o' de post like I see a shinin' 
man leanin' ovah de post an' a-lookin' daoun like 
dis-a-way, an' at de foot o' de post, on de groun' 
like, I see 'nudder man like de first, all white shinin' 
like de bu'nin' fiah in de lime kiln, an' de one dat 
Stan' at de foot kep' a-bowin' daoun, an* a-rosin' up 
'g'in an' a-bowin' daoun an' a-rosin' up wid he's two 
han's hoi' up like he a-prayin'. I 'clar', bredren, I 



1 74 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

look on dat sight ontvvell I fall daoun wid de glory- 
shinin' cl'ar froo me, an' de debble leab go, an' I feel 
my h'a't grow all light wid de bu'nin' ob dat white 
fiah, an' dar I nebber knowed nuffin' no mo' ontvvell 
I hyahed my mammy say, * Oh, Pauldo, is yo' daid, 
honey?' I tell yo', bredren, hoi' yo' ban's up in 
pra'r tu de Fadah like de bressed Son done pray. I 
seed 'im ; I knows. Dat ar' de bressed 'zample o' de 
Saviour wha' done died fo' yo'-all, — wha' done save 
yo'-all fom de def an' de fiah seven times mo' 
hottah dan de bu'nin' white fiah in de lime kiln." 

During this whole discourse, the cries and groans 
of agitated spirits constantly begun and suppressed 
caused a pervading feeling of excitement, extend- 
ing its influence even to the visitors. When the 
preacher had nearly reached his close, a crouching 
figure moved rapidly across the small moonlit space 
without, and crept like a shadow in at the door, un- 
noticed by any but Portia. To overcome the emo- 
tion which she felt stealing over her as she watched 
the thrilling gestures and earnest face of the densely 
black speaker, she had turned and was gazing into 
the moonlight and stillness without. Like a shadow 
the figure dropped behind the men and boys gathered 
at the door, and crawling on all fours stretched him- 
self like a dog beneath one of the benches against 
the wall, where he lay concealed by the skirts of the 
women and the legs of the men who sat upon it. 
Portia could see the whites of his eyes as he peered 
cautiously out. The same instant several hounds 
bayed at once in the near distance, and the cower- 
ing figure slunk farther back and was lost to sight- 
Portia felt the cold chills creep over her. She 



" Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids '* 1 75 

clutched Marshall's arm, and for a moment could 
not speak. 

Seeing the look on her face, he took the hand 
with which she had grasped him. "What is it?" 
lie whispered. 

'' Take me out. Take me away from here." 

He drew her hand through his arm, and they 
stepped out into the moonlight. She trembled, 
"What is it?" he said again, gently keeping his 
strong hand over hers as it rested on his arm. 

" That creature, the murderer, the one at the mill- 
bridge. I saw him. He is in there. Oh, they are 
after him." 

" No, no. It must be some — " 

" It is. I saw him creep in. See, there are men 
— there in the shadow of the rocks. Oh, come 
away. No. Call grandfather, — call him out. 
Go ; I will wait here." He turned at her bidding, 
but she held him back, for two men had stepped 
out in the moonlit space. Within the cabin the 
negroes we reshouting and singing. John grasped 
the situation, though he knew nothing of her pre- 
vious fright at the bridge. 

" Don't be alarmed ; they are after that brute." 
He drew her with him back into the cabin, and 
spoke a few hurried words to their companions. At 
the same instant a low, long-bodied hound, a de- 
scendant of the old Southern breed, rushed in at the 
door, and with furious yelps began tearing at the 
legs of the poor creature under the bench. Men 
shouted, women screamed, and the wildest confusion 
reigned. Some, supposing Satan was turned loose 
when they saw Pete crawl out, desperately fighting 



176 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

the dog, fainted where they sat, or leaped up crying, 
** O Lawd, tu'n 'im out. Chain 'im in de bottom 
ob de flo'less pit." 

The guests, being nearest the door, were the first 
to escape from the cabin. Josephus, leaping over 
benches and prostrate forms, came to the poor 
wretch's assistance, kicking the cur out of the cabin 
and breaking its leg. It crawled off, dragging the 
useless limb, to the group of men gathered outside. 
The guests hurried away. Marshall walked by 
Portia's side, keeping her arm within his. As Jose- 
phus appeared in the doorway, a shot was fired. 
The dog was quickly avenged. Portia and John, 
turning, saw him fall face downward. 

** It is Josephus," she cried. " Oh, stop them. 
What shall we do? Speak to them." 

" It will do no good. Come." He tried gently to 
lead her away, wishing to save her anguish, but 
horror at seeing a man shot down overcame her 
personal fear. The others, thinking the two young 
people were immediately in their rear, walked 
rapidly on toward the wagon. 

** Ought we to go back there and help the poor 
devils? " said Richard, mechanically placing his hand 
on his hip pocket, as another shot rang in the air. 

" We can neither help nor hinder," said Clark, 
carefully lighting the way for the others to follow. 

"That's so," muttered Craig. "There's hell to 
follow those shots if the negroes resist. The wisest 
thing is to get these ladies home as soon as possible." 

" Where is Portia?" said Mr. Ridgeway. 

" She 's coming," said Miss Keller, pantingly, 
stumbling short-breathed in her tight tailor-made 



" Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids " 1 77 

costume, trying to hasten in the uncertain hght. 
Mr. Russell hesitated and turned back. *' I saw her 
just this moment on Mr. Marshall's arm," she con- 
tinued, and he walked on. 

** Here, yu-all stan' aroun' thar 'nd gyard th' 
cabin," said Patterson, levelling his weapon and firing 
the second shot as the white-haired old preacher 
appeared in the door, while Portia's pitiful voice 
of entreaty died on the air unheard. *' We'll shoot 
down airy devil 't tries tu run till we git th' one 
we 'r' a'ter." Josephus staggered to his feet as old 
Uncle Pauldo fell across the threshold with a bullet 
through his heart. 

Portia screamed, and, springing forward, caught 
Patterson's arm while the weapon still smoked in 
his hand, before Marshall could get his slower brain 
ready for action. 

** Oh, Mr. Patterson, don't do it again! Don't 
shoot men down like that." 

The touch of her woman's hand softened his 
chivalrous Southern heart. He spoke to her as 
tenderly as to a child. Flinging his pistol to one 
of the other men, he said in a low tone, " Jes' yu 
gyard th' door, will ye," and led her away from them. 
** This here looks hard, but it's jestice, yu see. Miss 
Van Ostade. It has tu be done, but hit's no place 
fo' yu tu be. Whar 's yu' comp'ny ? " 

" They 're here. Oh, they are gone ! Mr. Mar- 
shall is here." She looked about and saw him lead- 
ing Josephus away to keep the poor fellow from 
being shot at a second time. She drew a sigh of 
relief, but still kept her trembling hands on Mr. 
Patterson's arm. In the darkness she saw men 
12 



1 78 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

quietly gathering about the cabin. From within the 
shrieks of the frightened women came out to them, 
pitiful voices of terror. 

'' Oh, hear them, Mr. Patterson, — those poor 
frightened creatures. You seem always so gentle 
and kind, don't do it again. Hear them." 

" I 'm mighty cut up 't any lady should be hyar 
tu-night, 'nd be skeered as yu air. Yu see yu' 
heart's tetched, but it can't be helped. It's no 
mo' 'n jestice 'nd se'f-defence." Marshall approached 
them. " Good-evenin', John. Yu ah this young 
lady's escort, I take it. Ah yu with us or not?" 
The question had a menace in it which Marshall 
wisely ignored. He drew Portia's hand through his 
arm, speaking lightly, — 

"We came to-night, half in frolic. A negro 
revival is a curious sight to our Northern visitors, 
you know. What's all the fuss? What 's Josephus 
been doing? " > 

" Hit 's Pete Gunn we 're a'ter, 'nd Joe 's been 
hid'n' 'im, I reckon. We'll hev tu clap 'im in irons 
fer it tu, 'f he don't git hung. When jestice has tu 
be done, it 's mighty hard Ijold'n' the men back." 

** I don't believe Pete 's there. I was in the cabin 
myself and didn't see him." 

" Oh, yes, he is," exclaimed Portia, honestly. '* I 
saw him creep in. That was what frightened me so." 

" He 's thar all right, — psalm-singin' devils ; 
they're hid'n' 'im. We'd ought tu blow up th' 
cabin 'nd send 'em all tu hell." Josephus, making 
his way from tree to tree, was lost in the darkness as 
these few words were spoken. " Whar is that dog 
now?" said Patterson, peering after him. 



" Wen de Gates Lift Up deir Haids *' 1 79 

" I '11 take Miss Van Ostade to her party, and 
come back and hunt him up for you." John felt it 
wisest to placate, falling easily into Patterson's own 
vernacular, for the sake of the trembling girl at his 
side. " He 's too badly hurt to do any harm for 
one while, I reckon." 

Portia drew back and laid her hand again on 
Patterson's arm. " Please, Mr. Patterson, — you seem 
able to control all the rest, — don't blow up the 
cabin. It is murder, even if they are black." 

Patterson, always tender and gentle to a white 
woman, looked into her pleading face upturned to 
his in the moonlight, and felt himself swayed by the 
quivering hps and trembling touch. 

" Young lady, I 'm mighty cut up ovah this. 
Thar ain't wuth enough in all th' niggah trash on 
earth tu make up tu ye fer hit. Mind ye, we won't 
du no mo' killin' fo' yu' sake than we are mortally 
obleeged tu. Ef 't wan't foh yu, we might o' blowed 
up the whole kit. Now yu go with John 'nd git 
ovah yu' skeer, 'nd we '11 keep 'em still till yu' fairly 
out o' hyarin'." 

'' Your heart is kind ; please let it rule," she 
pleaded again. They hastened, stumbling along 
in the dark ravine. For the second time they had 
been deserted by their companions. They heard 
Patterson shout to the negroes penned in the cabin, 
**Yu haish thar, yu black catterwaulin* catamounts, 
we '11 talk fa'r when yu pan out th' niggah we 'r' 
a'ter." 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE DRIVE HOME 

MARSHALL peered among the shadows for 
Josephus. He had told him to watch for 
them down the trail. He still had Portia's hand 
grasped in his. " I can't let go of you on this rough 
path," he said. She was glad, although she felt her 
cheeks glow in the darkness. She was frightened 
and weak after the first excitement, and the touch 
of his hand was strong and warm. 

" I wonder at their leaving us here with no light," 
she said. 

" We can see very well where the moonlight falls. 
You are too courageous to care. You were the 
only brave one among us." 

" I am cowardly. I am trembling yet for fear I 
shall hear shots again. I wish they would quiet 
those horrible dogs. Hear them ! " 

" Don't think of it, — you have done all you can." 

They came to a wide ledge of rock. " Stop here 
and rest a moment. We shall be missed soon, and 
some one will come back for us." 

Far below them sounded the water rushing among 
the rocks. The moonlight filtered over them through 
the leafage. He saw her face, white in its silvery 
light. He still held her hand, loath to resign it 
" Lean on my arm and rest a moment," he said. 

1 80 



I 



The Drive Home i8i 

"No, I am not tired, only — oh, hear that! " A 
shriek rent the air, followed by scream after scream, 
the howling of dogs and the hoarse cries of men's 
voices. Portia felt her knees giving way under her. 
She clutched at John's coat, frantic with horror, 
thinking of the negroes penned in the cabin, and 
sank down on her knees at his feet with her hands 
over her face. Marshall stooped and raised her 
gently and tried to lead her on. 

** Come, you must not stay here another moment. 
Don't take it to heart so. It is not as bad as it 
sounds. They are only frightened. There is no 
shooting." 

"No, no. Go to them. Go back. You can stop 
them." 

" I can't leave you here alone ; it would be villany. 
I am powerless. They don't care for me." 

" Oh, they will. Try, try to stop them. Oh, 
hear ! I will go with you." 

** I will not let you go to be mixed up with that 
crazy crowd," he said firmly. ** Come." Could he 
have done so, he would have carried her away 
bodily. 

" I am only one. Do you think one soul of more 
worth than all those helpless creatures? I am not 
afraid, I tell you. Go back and try. I shall detest 
you else." In her frenzy she did not know her own 
vehemence. She stamped her foot. Placing both 
hands on his breast, she pushed him from her. He 
turned away. 

" God forgive me if any harm comes to you," he 
said in a tone that reached her heart through all her 
excitement and brought her to herself once more. 



1 8 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" What have I done, what have I done ? " she said, 
sinking down on her knees again and trying to stop 
her ears with her fingers. '* Everything is wrong." 

John ran in the darkness, stumbling, falling, and 
running again, in his haste to accomplish his errand, 
and return. At the scene he found quiet restored, 
while the men parleyed for the prisoner. The ne- 
groes would have willingly given him up, but he 
had escaped them, having crept up the chimney. 
The screams had arisen from fright. The invaders 
had piled brush about the cabin, and threatened to 
burn it down while they guarded the door with their 
rifles unless Pete could be produced. The dead 
preacher still lay across the threshold. 

Marshall stirred among the men, and sought out 
Patterson, but finding he had been drinking, realized 
the futility of argument and his own helplessness, 
and once more hurried along the trail to regain 
Portia's side. As he neared the flat rock he saw 
lights twinkling among the shadows. She had been 
missed by the party, and Craig had returned for 
them with a lantern. John, hurrying on, stumbled 
over something across the path. It was Josephus, 
lying faint from loss of blood. Marshall ran on for 
the light, and with Craig's assistance they roused 
him. Then, while Portia held the lantern, they 
stanched the bleeding and bound the wound, using 
all their handkerchiefs and tearing his shirt sleeve 
in strips to bind them. The ball had passed through 
the fleshy part of his arm, and glancing had lodged 
in his breast. 

*' I wish I had a drop of old Toplins' stuff now," 
said Craig. " Got any whiskey, Joe ? " 



The Drive Home 183 

" Naw, sah," he said weakly. 

*• We can never get him to the wagon in this 
state," said John. 

" Here," said Portia, diving her hand into her 
pocket and drawing out a dehcate Httle fih'gree 
smelUng bottle. " Will this be of any service? " 

'* Just the thing. Here, Joe, take a sniff. That 's 
a man. Can you stand? " said Craig. 

" I reckon, sah." 

" Then we '11 hurry," said Marshall. *' They may 
be after him if we don't make haste." Josephus 
straightened himself with a quick start, and they 
moved on. 

" That last remark seems to be of more service 
than your smelling bottle," said Craig. They walked 
slowly and silently. Reaching the anxious, waiting 
crowd at last, they were greeted with excited excla- 
mations and questions. 

'' What was the trouble ? " " What were those 
men after?" ** Why didn't you come along with 
us? " " We have had such a fright about you ! " 

" Portia," said Mrs. Percy, " where on earth were 
you? We supposed you were on ahead, — you were 
the first to leave the cabin. Your grandfather has 
been frantic." 

'* Why, I was all right," said Portia, turning to 
her grandfather, and anxious to avoid questions. 
" Mr. Marshall was with me. But now what shall 
we do with this poor fellow ? " 

" Alexander might take him home in the car- 
riage," replied her grandfather. " If the ladies 
could — " 

** We can ride in the wagon ; of course we can/' 
cried they. 



I 84 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" You would better be a little careful what you 
do, or rather how you do it," said Mr. Clark. " You 
don't want the whole community down on you." 

" Here," said Mr. Percy, " I can arrange that. 
You who live here, get yourselves home. You need 
know nothing about it. Loan Mr. Betts and me the 
carriage, and Alexander, and the rest of you pile in 
the wagon and drive on." 

'' Mr. Percy is right," said Mr. Betts. " I will go 
with him gladly." The rest of the party hastily 
seated themselves in the wagon without ceremony, 
where room was easily found for one more. 

" Mr. Russell, we brought your rug," said Portia. 
" Was that what you were beckoning for at the 
gate ? " 

" No, Miss Van Ostade, it was for you — I — we — 
that is — I wanted you to ride with us, but somehow 
we seemed to get started without you. Please keep 
the rug — and — " 

" Oh, we don't need it, thank you," said Portia, 
and hastened to take her place in the buckboard, 
lest she be urged to go with the rest. They started, 
and she drew a long sigh of relief. Looking back 
in the darkness, she dimly saw Josephus being 
helped into the carriage. 

" Poor fellow ! How old Clarissa will feel ! " she 
said. 

" She '11 take on terribly, but she may be thank- 
ful it was no worse. A little more and that ball 
would have reached his heart." Portia shuddered. 
•' It was kind of you, and courageous too, to ride 
back with me." He wished to change the subject, 
and spoke the thought uppermost in his mind. 



The Drive Home 185 

*' Why so? Oh, because you thought me afraid 
when we drove along here? I was only indulging 
my imagination then, but — I do believe I saw 
those men prowling along in the underbrush." 

" I have no doubt you did ; and very few women 
would be as brave." He looked in her face. He 
thought she would not know the look his eyes had 
for her in the darkness, but she vaguely felt it. 

She drooped her head. " I am not courageous, 
only cowardly. I should have had to answer all 
their questions, you know, so I avoided them. 
Curiosity seems to me sometimes horrible," she 
shuddered. 

'* Of course they will want to know why we stayed 
and what happened when we get home, but I will tell 
them all, and you must go directly to your room." 

A little wave of grateful feeling swept through 
her heart. Ah, he was making a place for himself 
there, surely, surely, with the delicate tact which 
comes by nature to some men, and which others 
stumble through a whole lifetime without. 

" I wish I knew — " she began and stopped. 

"What do you wish you knew? " 

** I do and I don't. I am cowardly. I wish I 
knew what is happening, yet I would not dare," 
she covered her eyes with her hands as if to keep 
out the sight. " It was awful to see them shoot men 
down. And that good old preacher, so earnest ! 
He looked like a spirit with those gleaming eyes, 
I and his white head, preaching there in the dim 
light." 

" Don't think of it any more. He died at his 
post, like a soldier on the field of battle." She still 



^ 



I 86 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

kept her hands over her face. '* Think of something 
else," he said gently. " Are you aware what a 
perfect night this is?" 

** Yes, yes, I am. When the world all around 
them is so beautiful, how can people be so wicked ! 
It is sentimental bosh that the beauty of nature 
has a softening effect." 

" All souls are not awakened, you know," he was 
glad to lead her thoughts away through the channel 
of argument. *' They are not sensitive to beauty." 

" But Mr, Patterson seems sensitive, — how anxious 
he was that I should not suffer, even when he was 
so cruel to them." She shivered. 

** Where is your shawl? " 

" Here in my lap. I do not need it." 

" You must let me put it around you nevertheless. 
Don't you know that people take cold more easily 
after excitement ? " He placed it comfortably over 
her shoulders, but his hand shook a little as he 
gathered it together under her sweet chin. '* There ! 
Now I shall feel more comfortable even if you 
don't," he said with a laugh. And well he might, 
had he known how surely, unknown even to herself, 
he was folding himself in with that fleecy white wrap. 

*' Thank you. I wish we were at home. I wish 
we had never come out this evening. It seems a 
sacrilegious thing to look back at now." 

He would try argument again. '' I begin to think 
you misunderstand yourself," he said. ** Where 
was all that feeling of aversion when you were pity- 
ing them? Own up. Did n't you forget they were 
all negroes, and feel just the same as if they were 
white?" 



The Drive Home 187 

** Oh, no, no ! I did n't, I did n't. I caught my- 
self feeling thankful that they were not white people. 
Oh, why do you make me own up? I did n't. Oh, the 
shame of it ! I prayed to be forgiven, there while 
I waited for you to come back, and the next 
moment I caught myself feeling the same again ; 
and in the cabin, I felt as if I could not stay crowded 
in with them. I presume if I am ever good enough 
to go to heaven I shall find them there, and they 
will forgive me." 

John laughed a contagious, irresistible laugh. 
The great rocks hemming them in on either side 
took it up in merry echoes. The stream they were 
fording seemed to repeat the sounds ; and the 
wagon rattled on before. 

Portia looked at him gravely. " Why do you 
laugh? " she said. 

" Forgive me," he replied. " Won't you laugh 
a little? Is it so serious a matter that you feel 
yourself different, set apart from these people? I 
can't imagine your feeling any other way." 

" Perhaps I could n't, but my white skin is no 
credit to me. I might have been one of them." 

" But since you were given a white skin, you .^' 
cannot be blamed for having white tastes." 

She was silent. He wished she would talk again, 
and flicked at the gray horse impatiently, making 
him take a livelier pace. What could he say t 
Would she ever talk with him again with the hght- 
heartedness and laughter that she did a couple of 
hours ago? The moon, riding high in its course, 
hung over the hills, a glowing, molten ball, and 
threw its rays in Portia's face, giving her spirituelle 



1 8 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

countenance a white, evanescent look, as if she 
were intangible, and would presently fade from his 
side, and become part of the quivering light. He 
felt a frantic desire to lay hands on her and detain 
her by force. The tenderness so lately come into 
his heart kept his tongue tied, lest he betray him- 
self and say that which would only keep her from 
him. He framed one thought after another in set 
words, but they died on his lips unuttered. He, 
the quick-witted, the ready-tongued, was silent. 
This travelled, educated, well-poised, light-hearted 
winner of friends was floundering in a chaos of 
unuttered, unutterable thoughts and feelings, be- 
cause the little god of love had followed him into 
these wilds and shot an arrow into his heart and 
then laid his finger on his lips. Ah, well ! Let 
him triumph over our hero. Have not all the 
greatest heroes of the world bowed before him — 
done him homage? Nay, more. Has he not even 
created heroes out of common souls, this masterful 
little god? 

Soon they were within hearing distance of the 
voices from the wagon. Then Portia roused her- 
self as from a dream in which his presence had 
been forgotten. 

" Why, we must be nearly home." 

"I think so," he replied, checking the swinging 
pace into which his impatience had urged the little 
gray, with a quick movement of regret. 

Portia sighed. "What can I do, what shall I 
do, to rid myself of the remembrance of this even- 
ing? " 

" Don't think of it ; don't. Why should you ?" 



The Drive Home 189 

" Because it is there, and will stay by me as 
another awful scene has. Only that was simply 
awful, — this was wicked." 

John made no reply, and she looked away at the 
great ball of fire rolling over the mountain's crest. 
" Look at the moon. I never saw it so wonderful. 
Now these dead pines are making black marks over 
its face. It is like this evening, — beautiful, and 
then defaced." 

*' Not forever," he said with a smile. ".We shall 
soon pass the pines, and then — " 

** I know what you mean, — but now, — at this 
very minute, — we cannot know what they may be 
doing back there." 

** It would do no good if we did. They have the 
law in their own hands just now, and there is a 
measure of justice in it, on the whole. They wished 
to retake that nigger that has been murdering and 
thieving about the country. They can't allow him 
to run at large, and some of them had been conceal- 
ing him." 

Portia suddenly bowed her head, and covered her 
face. *' Mr. Marshall," she said, in an awe-struck 
voice, " I am to blame for this evening's awful work. 
I am to blame." 

" What an unheard of idea ! Your brave interces- 
sion saved matters from being worse; you can have 
that for your satisfaction." 

" I can't. Wait till you understand. I must tell 
you. You will blame me, but you will help me — 
tell me what to do?" She told him rapidly of her 
fright and of her yielding to the entreaties of Jose- 
phus next morning to say nothing. ** Now you see 



1 90 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

how I am to blame. If I had not yielded — if he 
had been taken — this would not have happened. 
We are weak and foolish, we women. In trying 
to be charitable, we overstep the mark. In my 
misplaced pity, I have done this terrible thing," 
she moaned. 

John was silent, and Portia's heart thumped ir- 
regularly during the pause. She grew cold with 
anxiety and drew her shawl closer about her. Her 
mouth became dry. She opened her lips to speak, 
but said nothing. He leaned over and tucked the 
robes gently about her. 

" You are cold," he said. 

" Oh, Mr. Marshall, help me. Blame me if you 
will, you can't help it — but — " 

" No, Miss Van Ostade, I do not blame you. You 
acted nobly, doing the best you knew. It is a com- 
fort sometimes to think we are not such important 
factors in the affairs of this world as we think we 
are. If you had stayed in the North, do you think 
this thing would not have happened? It was bound 
to happen." 

"Would I not better have spoken, though?" she 
asked, slightly comforted. 

" We can't tell ; Josephus may have been right. 
He 's a good sensible fellow for a nigger. There 
is something behind all this," he added hurriedly as 
they were nearing the house. *' I shall question 
Patterson and learn what I can ; in the mean time, 
say nothing about your adventure, I beg of you. 
It won't do to have that get about. If I ma}^ I will 
drop in to-morrow with any news I have been able 
to pick up." 



The Drive Home 191 

" Oh, will you ? I won't worry grandfather, or 
mamma, but I had to tell some one my anxiety, — 
it was too dreadful to keep." 

" Won't you dismiss it now, at least until you hear 
from me again? " 

" I will try, — • and — and thank you." She gave 
him her hand gratefully and then hurried up the 
stairs with her guests. The small darky drove the 
gray home, and John stood talking affairs over with 
Hanford Clark a few moments, and then walked 
slowly back to Miss Katherine's. 



CHAPTER XV 

"WHY N'T YO' SHOOT TURRER MULE?'^ 

THE morning dawned dull and drizzly. The 
sun looked out on the world with one bril- 
liant smile and then crept behind the heavy clouds 
that hung over the mountains, as if the sight of the 
grewsome thing dangling, hacked and bruised, from 
the great gum-tree beside the cabin in the gorge, 
had caused him to hide his head in very shame. 
The linnets and finches fluttered restlessly from 
tree to tree, round and round the old gum as if 
they constituted an investigating committee ; while 
the rain fell softly on the earth, pattering over green 
leaves, and dripping alike from the soiled rags of 
Pete Gunn and the laurel blossoms in the thicket; 
washing the blood stains from the threshold of the 
log church, and bathing the face of the old preacher 
who had fallen there when he went where he might 
watch the '' gates lift up their heads to let the King 
of glory through." 

It was election day. All was peaceful in the little 
village. The white voters congregated at the polls 
in Budd's saloon, and about the post-office and 
depot. There was much quiet discussion and con- 
siderable drinking. Hanford Clark was pumped 
cunningly about the views taken at the new board- 
ing-house concerning the raid on the cabin, but he 
evaded the talk, and questioned in turn as to the 

192 



"Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule?" 193 

probable cause of Monk's prolonged absence at 
this time. 

** What does he mean by staying away?" he 
asked. He sat with his back to the group of 
loungers, and his hand on the button of the tele- 
graph machine on his desk, while it ticked monoto- 
nously on. 

" Skeered, I reckon," said Patterson, with a half- 
smile. His eyes gleamed with a peculiar light as 
they rested on Hanford's face. 

" Yas, he's skeered fas' enough," said another; 
** them smooth, cheeky kind is mighty big cowards." 

"Afraid? I guess not. What's he afraid of?" 

The last speaker thrust his tongue in his cheek, 
and Patterson turned away. 

" Hello ! Wait a minute. Here 's a message for 
him. Don't any of you know where he is?" A 
languid interest awoke in the crowd, and the machine 
ticked on. " He 's wanted down in Broadgate." 

" I reckon they du, 'long 'bout this time," said 
one. 

" Let *em want 'im,""3trw:^*em ; I ain't hunt'n' can- 
didates fer 'em." 

" Ef they can't hang on tu their durned, slippery 
candidates, let 'em hunt 'em up themselves." 

They dispersed, and Hanford was left to his own 
meditations. He decided, unless pressed to do so 
by some hostility, not to bring up the subject again. 
Judson Chaplain was elected to the office Monk 
had hoped to win, quite to the satisfaction of the 
Patterson element. 

No negroes attempted to go to the polls. Jose- 
phus lay groaning in his cabin loft, while a few of 
13 



1 94 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

their bravest gathered quietly at the scene of the 
last night's trial by lynch law, and cared for their 
dead unmolested. The body of the old preacher 
was committed to the keeping of the hillside where 
they had laid their beloved teacher, Miss Mann, and 
Pete Gunn was buried in the gorge. The coroner's 
jury " sat on them," and found the cause of the 
death of one to be hanging, and of the other acci- 
dental shooting, and there was an end of the mat- 
ter, so said the voters ; possibly the old preacher 
knew better, —who can tell? 

During the morning John visited his old nurse. 
She came hobbling to the door to meet him. " I 
knowed yo' 'd come, honey, — we 's in a heap o' 
trouble." 

He heard Josephus groaning overhead, and his 
heart filled with pity for the old woman who had 
carried him in her arms and nursed him. She sat 
down by the hearth and gazed into the embers (as 
if she saw into another time and place), with an 
expression of hopeless sorrow on her face. 

" Don't take on, mammy. Joe shall be taken 
care of. Is he badly hurt?" 

*' I do' know, honey. He nuvva say nufifin', — jes' 
clum up yandah in de night 'daout wakin' me, an' 
dar he a-lyin'. Oh, Lawd ! I kyan' git up dar fo' 
tu he'p 'im. I done holla up is he hu'ted, an' he 
tol' me. Oh, honey, de Lawd done po'in' aout de 
vials o' he's wrath on yo' ol' mammy." 

*' No, mammy, no," said John, comfortingly ; " the 
Lord is n't angry with you. That is n't the trouble." 

He climbed the ladder to Joe's loft and found 
the poor fellow delirious from thirst and exhausted 



" Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule ? " 195 

from loss of blood. He brought him water and 
food, and as he moved over the creaking boards 
he could hear Clarissa's voice in a low monotone 
praying the Lord to ** punish he's ol' mudder 
an' leab de boy 'lone." " She 's crazy with her 
trouble," he thought. " What earthly thing does 
she think she is being punished for?" She stood 
at the foot of the ladder as he came down and laid 
a trembling hand on his arm. 

" I 'clar' yo' dat like yo' paw, I kyan' look on 
yo* face 'daout my hea't go jump like hit baoun' 
tu cry aout. Oh, honey, honey, don't come heah 
no mo'. Ef yo' come heah, dey '11 hu't yo' some 
way mo' 'n likely. Dar 's de curse o' de Lawd on 
yo' ol' mammy, honey ; yo' kyan' he'p none. Dar 's 
Joe been talkin' he's fool talk wid de niggahs 'baouts 
de votin'. Dat ar hu-come dey kill de mule, an' 
now dey like tu kill Joe tu. Go yo' way, honey. 
Leab yo' ol' mammy b'ar de trouble like she done 
b'ar heap o' trouble yo' do' know nuffin' 'baout. 
I kyan' hab no ha'm fall on yo' haid." 

'* You stop fretting, mammy. I 'm all right. I '11 
send a boy to look after Joe, and a doctor to fix 
him up again, and he'll be as good as new." 

"No doctah won' come heah, mine yo' dat. Yo' 
sen' de boy, an' I '11 sen' up de maount'n fo' Jake 
Hat'away. He knows a heap 'baouts yarbs 'nd 
doctorin'. Dey '11 trick yo' some way ef dey larns 
yo' been heah." 

*' No, they won't, mammy. Joe's too badly hurt 
to be fooled with. Don't you let any herb doctor 
come near him. I '11 send a good man from Ashe- 
ville, a Northern man, to doctor Joe, and you must 



I 96 When the Gates Lilt Up their Heads 

do everything he tells you to. Don't let any one 
meddle with him. Hear?" 

Later in the day Portia came to see her. Not 
daring to take her usual walk, she had Alexander 
drive, and Mrs. Percy and the children accom- 
panied her. Arrived at the stream with the tree 
for a foot bridge, Alexander suggested that the 
children go hunt for " posies." " Dis heah 's mighty 
fine place fo' posies," he said. " Ef anybody come 
erlong dis-a-way, I gwine tell 'em de bo'din'-haouse 
folkses hunt'n' posies." 

It had not occurred to Portia that there was any 
reason why she should not look after Josephus in 
common humanity. Now she realized that the old 
coachman was wishing to save her from criticism 
by not allowing the boarding-house equipage to 
be seen standing near the cabin, so she took the 
delicacies she had brought and walked on alone. 
It was too wet for posy hunting, and they all sat 
in the carriage until her return. 

Portia found the old woman crouching over the 
coals and talking to herself, while Josephus moaned 
overhead. 

'' Why, Clarissa ! You must have some one here 
who can go up and look after him," said Portia. 

" Yas, Miss Po'tia; young Mars'r John say he 
gwine sen' a boy tek keer on 'im." 

'' And a doctor, — is n't there any doctor you can 
get?" 

" I do' know, Miss Po'tia, Mars'r John say he 
gwine sen' doctor fom Asheville." 

" How good of him ! " said Portia, gratefully. It 
was as if he had done her an especial favor by 



*' Why n't yo' Shoot Turrer Mule ? " 197 

coming up to her ideal of him instead of falHng 
below it. " Of course he would look after her, 
poor old creature," she said to herself as she hur- 
ried back to the carriage in the dampness. 

During the afternoon two white men came to the 
cabin and inquired for Josephus. One of them 
pulled a pair of handcuffs from his pocket as 
Clarissa pointed up the ladder without speaking, 
in answer to their questions. They climbed up 
and found the wounded man lying in a half-stupor, 
moaning and talking incoherently. 

'* Why n't yo' tek 'im 'long? " said the old woman, 
bitterly, as they mounted their horses to ride away 
without him. ** Likely yo' has use fo' 'im. He 's 
good tu hang yit, ef he is half daid." 

" He '11 die fo' mo'nin'. We hev no use fo' a 
dead niggah," said one. 

" Yas, we hev mo' use fo' a dead niggah 'n we 
hev fo' a live one," said the other. 

" Yo' has heap o' use fo' a daid niggah dese 
days. I done seed de time yo' willin' tu gib a 
heap fo* a right smaht live niggah like Joe war," 
she continued to call after them. " I done seed 
de time yo 'd hunt fo' 'em like dey been made o' 
cl'ar gol', ef dey git fo' tu run away. Live niggah 
wuth a heap dem days. Why n't yo' shoot turrer 
mule? Hit a right smaht mule fo' shootin'." 

She went muttering back into the cabin, and 
replenishing the fire sat down before it as was her 
wont, gazing into the burning fragments as if she 
read there the history of her race. 

" Hit sarved Joe like he 'd ought tu be sarved 
fo' hid'n* a murderin', thievin' niggah," said one 
of the men. 



198 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

** They '11 know whar they b'long after this, I 
reckon. A little skeer won't du 'em any harm/* 
was the reply. 

*'Goin' round by th' mill?" 

** Wal, yes. I reckon I will." 

'' I 'm thinkin' I '11 go thet road tu." They turned 
their horses' heads in the direction of Throop's mill 
and rode out of sight. 

During that day the cowed negroes scarcely 
stirred out of their cabins, but after the darkness 
had fairly covered the hills Gabriella Gunn left her 
home, and taking a crosscut over a steep rise and 
through a cotton patch, and a bit of pine woods, 
reached the small clearing belonging to Josephus 
and his mother. 

*' I 'lowed yo' 'd drap in," said Clarissa, as her 
visitor took a roll of butter and four new-laid eggs 
out of a cloth in which she had tied them. The 
doctor had come and gone, leaving Josephus more 
comfortable, and bringing the boy with him John 
had promised to send. 

Long into the night the two women sat by the 
fire and talked. " I tol' Joe quit talkin' 'bouts de 
votin' ; I tol' 'im leab dat ar tu de white folkses. 
Niggahs ain' no use fo' a votin' papah, nohow." 
They talked in low tones while Gabriella told of 
the raid in all its details, over and over, while her 
companion questioned and smoked. 

" I 's seed a heap o' ha'd times," said the old 
woman at last; ''but ef Joe dies, hit '11 be de wust 
knock yit." 



CHAPTER XVI 

"OL' MISSUS' RETURN" 

AFFAIRS in Patterson soon settled to their 
even tenor. Considerable stir was made in 
Broadgate over Monk's mysterious disappearance, 
until it was accepted that he had taken himself off 
for reasons of his own, when his room was broken 
open and his effects sent to relatives in the North, 
none of whom seemed to care enough for him to 
inquire into the matter. His apartments were re- 
rented to John and Judson Chaplain for offices, and 
no suspicion of foul play occurred to any but Han- 
ford Clark. John was too much taken up with his 
building and his love for Portia to care what such 
a man as Monk did with himself. He laughed at 
his friend's suggestion, and took him over the 
hotel's foundations with pride, showing the rapid 
progress, and talked of his plans with a light heart. 
" I must have Aunt Mary and Uncle Darius here 
to the house-warming," he said. "The place is 
booming. Some New York party is going to put 
up a residence over yonder, — I saw the man yes- 
terday." He confided everything except the one 
matter too deep and too sacred to be touched upon, 
and, withal, too uncertain. " Come over to the 
office and look at the plans," he said. "I am 
going to stay until the mail comes in;" and they 
crossed the railroad tracks and the main street of 

199 



200 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Patterson to Monk's old rooms, all unconscious of 
the fate of its late occupant, intent only on their 
own purposes and cares. 

" We must have a new station. This little hole 
will not be in keeping with the place when the 
hotel is done," said John. 

'' A stone one like your foundation there. It 
would change the whole aspect of the place." 

Judson Chaplain entered with easy saunter, and 
seated himself with them. " What 's up } Looking 
ovah the plans, Mr. Clark ? Mighty imposing front, 
that. Those galleries running all around three 
sides are a fine thing. John knows what is wanted 
heah, — plenty of shade, and plenty of this moun- 
tain air. That 's what people come here foh, and 
that 's what we 're going tu give them. The whole 
thing is in true, hospitable Southern style. Look 
at this hall and stairway, — theah 's sweep foh yu. " 

" You are to have a building any town might be 
proud of. I see it," replied Clark. 

" We ought to have a better station," said John. 

" I reckon we ought. Let 's see, is n't youah uncle 
interested in the road ? " 

"To some extent, yes. I '11 draw up some plans 
and send on and learn what he thinks of it, and 
then we can submit them to the company." They 
all walked out again to look over the ground. 

"This space will have tu be widened consider- 
able," said Jud. 

"What will you do with that hole.?" asked 
Clark, pointing to a place where stone had been 
quarried for the foundation, leaving an unsightly 
spot. 



-or Missus' Return" 201 

** Ask Jud. He looks after the grounds; I only 
manage the building." 

"Theah? Oh, I '11 turn that into a grotto, and 
have it lined with ferns, and a grass plat in front. 
Capital place, — sightly, tu. I sha'n't du much 
grading; the natural slope of the land 's best theah." 
Judson spoke with the gentle Southern drawl, but 
he had any amount of energy, merely requiring op- 
portunity for its exercise. His fine artistic sense 
was only hampered by his purse. He had conceived 
a sincere liking for John, and enthusiastically 
seconded all his schemes. 

The evening mail thundered over the trestle 
below Patterson, and they sauntered down to the 
station. Just at that moment a bright face was 
looking out of a window of one of the coaches, 
down into the gorge from the dizzy height, and off 
over the hills, which towered range above range, 
and lost themselves in the glory of the sunlight of 
the west. 

"Aunt Isabel, look. Do look! This is as 
lovely as Switzerland," she said to her companion. 
" Look down. Isn't it awful .-^ What if the train 
should go over here ! " 

" I have no wish to look down, nor to think of 
the train's going over," said the aunt. "Clare, 
bring me a wrap. I am chilly. I wonder if I am 
to suffer with the cold all the time, now we are 
here." ^ 

A slight young woman seated across from them 
rose and wrapped a soft downy something about the 
old lady, who shivered, although she was already 
well "happed," as the Scotch would say, in fur and 



202 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

lace. Her white, wizened, finely cut face, with 
its preternaturally bright eyes, looked, in the cloud 
of costly, filmy stuff surrounding it, strangely spirit- 
like, — alert and keen, but scarcely flesh and 
blood. 

"Oh, no, you won't. John wrote that the days 
are so warm now, even you would not complain." 

" Whatever possessed you to insist on starting 
this week.? We shall be here without a word of 
warning, and nowhere to go." 

" He knew we were coming weeks ago. He 
never would put off making arrangements for us 
until now; besides, I did write." 

"There will be nothing for you to do, now you 
are here." 

"I don't care. I hope he hasn't received the 
letter; it will be such fun to see all he is up to 
before he knows we are here. There goes the 
whistle! and not a sign of a place. Isn't this 
awful, going around this curve .f* Look down, 
Clare; it will make you shiver. Oh, there goes 
my hat ! " 

" Marguerite, you act like a boy just out of 
school." 

" But my hat is gone. The wind took it right 
off my head. My nice long hat -pin, too. Clare, 
can't you get out that little French cap.'* Quick, 
— there goes th-e whistle again. Oh, Clare, hurry. 
I can't arrive bareheaded, — -that little red velvet 
one, with the wing, — oh, thank you." 

"Your hair is coming down," said the maid. 

"I know. Pin it up, quick. Oh, dear! how I 
must look ! " She turned her head this way and 



** or Missus' Return '' 203 

that to see in the little mirror over the seat. Ah, 
she was far more bewitching in the French cap, 
the rogue ! 

"What difference will it make how you look? 
There will be no one you care for in this out-of- 
the-way place." 

"You have taught me, Aunt Isabel, always to 
be ready for emergencies. Don't you remember 
the time we got into a diligence in Italy, where 
there was a princess in disguise ? Now I call that 
a lesson to one to be careful. There may be a 
prince here, for all we know." 

The train puffed slowly up the grade, gave a 
little spurt of impatient haste at the top, and came 
to a standstill. 

"Clare, you may take my wrap. I sha'n't need 
it while we are moving about. Where is my little 
black bag.?" 

"Here, madam; it is quite safe. I have all safe." 

"I don't wish my jacket, Clare," said Mar- 
guerite, rushing out on the platform, while her 
aunt followed more slowly; the maid, and the 
porter, well laden with bundles and luggage, bring- 
ing up the rear. 

" How sweet the air is ! Aunt Isabel, take a 
good long breath." 

"Where shall we find John, I wonder.? " 

"Right here, mother," said he, taking the little 
woman in his arms. " Why, you drop down on 
one like a — " 

"Oh, didn't you get my letter.?" Marguerite 
put up her mouth for a kiss. "There! It is good 
to see you again. " She glanced through the little 



204 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

window of the station as she spoke, and caught a 
glimpse of Hanford's profile. He did not look 
toward the platform, and she did not glance that 
way again. 

" Now, John, where are we to go .'* " asked his 
mother. 

" What an odd little place ! " said Marguerite. 
" Everything else is lovely. What did they have 
a place here for at all, if they must have it so ugly.? 
I should think you would die here, John; why 
don't you.-* " 

"Why don't 1} It is so easy to live here with 
no one to tease me ! " 

"'I have improved, John, since you have been 
away." They were walking toward the boarding- 
house equipage as they talked. 

"I am going to send you out to Mr. Ridgeway's, 
mother. He lives at the old place; I think I wrote 
you." 

" Send us ? Why, where are you stopping.? " 

" Mrs. Wells had pity on me, and took me in 
when I first came; but you will be far more com- 
fortable at the boarding-house." 

"What a desperately squalid little place! Why 
have they dumped all these buildings here.? It 
was far prettier as it used to be." 

"Ah, but you don't see the possibilities of it. 
This is the nucleus of one of the most thriving 
little towns anywhere to be found. Wait till you 
see the hotel I am putting up. Look over there, 
— that, rough stone is the beginning." 

"Are we to ride in this.? Why, there is Alex- 
ander. I wonder he is alive yet." 



" or Missus' Return '' 205 

Marguerite laughed merrily. " Why, Aunt Isa- 
bel? You are alive yet, — didn't he belong to 
you ? " 

The old lady scrutinized him through her glasses. 
"He looks withered and old," she said, not realiz- 
ing that she also had undergone somewhat the 
same transforming change. He turned with a 
start at the sound of her voice. 

"Howdy, Alexander," she said; and he sprang 
from his seat and was obsequiously bowing ere 
he could overcome his surprise and agitation. 

"Howdy, ma'm, howdy.!* j am right glad tu see 
yo' ah return' again once mo' tu yo' fo'mer home 
an' habitation." 

" That is very well, Alexander, very well, in- 
deed ; and now you may take us to it right smart, 
too. Come, Marguerite, what are you waiting 
for.-*" The sun cast a warm glow over the girl's 
face. She was looking at the box-like little sta- 
tion. Hanford Clark had not left his post. 

" What an ugly hole of a station ! " she said. 

John stowed them away in the ample carriage. 
"Now, Alexander, drive slowly. You don't want 
to pitch your old mistress over one of these steep 
places, you know." 

" Naw, sah, naw, sah, I do' wan' du dat, sart'n 
suah, sah." 

"Oh, John! Aren't you going with us.^" said 
Marguerite. 

"I will ride on ahead. I did n't get your letter, 
you know. It will be better to notify them; " and 
with a wave of his hand he was off. 

"What a beautiful saddle-horse! Aunty, look." 



2o6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Over the hill and down, up another rise and 
down, through the clear stream up to his horse's 
knees in water, up the next rise, round the curve, 
up still higher, down and up again, and on, John 
galloped like a courier riding with haste. He 
drew in the spicy air with a sense of exhilaration 
and delight, though trepidation was knocking at 
his heart. The small pebbles flew, spattering in 
the fountain as he passed it, and a little darky boy 
stepped out from somewhere and took the horse's 
bridle, just as might have happened in the old 
days. Portia had a clever way of bringing things 
to pass. She had trained several of the rising 
generation into typical house servants, and held 
sway over them with a power that only natures at 
once strong and kindly can wield. 

"That's right. Hold him till I come, Andy. 
Where's your mistress.-*" 

" Miz Po'tia yandah in de drawin'-room, sah. " 
Andy rolled his eyes in the direction of the house. 

John flew up the steps. What if she should not 
be alone! But she was alone, arranging her music. 
The room was cool and dark, and sweet with the 
odor of flowers. She looked up brightly at the 
sound of his voice, as if she were expecting him, 
but she was not. She had seen much of him since 
the catastrophe at the cabin had opened the way 
for subsequent interviews. 

" I beg pardon for rushing in on you this way, 
Miss Van Ostade. Were you singing.-* Please go 
on. Let me find something. Here, you were 
singing this the first time I ever heard your voice. 
Will you sing this.-* Don't begin at the begin- 



V 



*' or Missus' Return *' 207 

ning. This is where you were singing when I 
came up that evening and sat on the edge of the 
fountain listening to you." 

*' When was that? You never told me of it." 

" No. It was the first evening I came, but — " 

" And you were out there in the dark, and we 
here in your old home, — oh, why — " 

"I was not alone, — your voice was with me, and 
has been ever since, — day and night. Sing it; 
quick, sing it. I will turn the leaves. Here, at 
this measure, begin. I was under the arch when 
you made this trill, and here I came in and sat on 
the edge of the fountain, and there I remained 
until the lights disappeared, and the house was 
still. Now I have confessed, — sing." 

And Portia sang. The notes fell like pearls, 
and then burst forth in a flood of melody, spark- 
ling like a shower of summer raindrops lighted by 
the sun, and the pulsations of her heart throbbed 
through them, like the moving of a breeze from 
heaven. 

John, listening, knew she was singing for him as 
he had never heard her before. 

When the song was done, he gathered the music 
up. "May I have this.? May I keep it, and will 
you never sing it for any one else, never.? " 

She reached out her hand for it, laughing. 
"Give it to me," she said. "Why do you want 
this? I have other things that are better." 

"So you will not need this, and I may keep it. 
You see, I do not want to think of your singing it 
for any one else in the world as you sang it for me 
just now. I am — " 



2o8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Looking after my reputation? Thank you. I will 
practise so that I shall not disgrace myself again." 

" You know better than that, — don't laugh," he 
said gravely. "Promise me you will never sing 
for any one as you sang for me just now, — promise. 
But, heavens! how can you help it! I have this, 
at any rate, and shall keep it. Mother and Mar- 
guerite are coming. They will be here in a mo- 
ment, and I don't wish Marguerite to get this and 
sing it. I wish to hear no one but you." 

"Oh, why have you let me sit here singing.? I 
have things to attend to. " She began hastily piling 
the music. Her face paled, and her heart beat faster. 
" What shall I do .-^ I am afraid of your mother. " 

"You are afraid of no one; but if you were, 
mother is not the one to fear, — she is just a weary, 
little, old lady. Marguerite loves her, and you 
will love Marguerite. Every one seems to, and I 
know you will pronounce her a darling. If mother 
shows any of her old-time prejudice, pay no heed to 
her notions, and — " he hesitated, — "I have some- 
thing to ask of you. Will you let me put the horse 
you rode yesterday in your keeping.-* I am under 
the greatest obligations to you as it is, but I ask 
this because I have certain reasons. I never ride 
her myself, and the arrangement will save me a 
world of trouble. I — I have given Alexander 
directions, — I — I shall call her yours for the sake 
of convenience, for the present, you know — " 

" No, no, Mr. Marshall, I see through your ' cer- 
tain reasons. ' How — this is only one of your 
ways of giving me pleasure. I can't — " 

"And myself also. Our evening rides will end 



'' or Missus' Return ** 209 

if I may not have my way. The horse must be 
yours until December, and you will ride with Mar- 
guerite sometimes, will you not? I have a saddle- 
horse for her, and a team for mother, and this is in 
my way there in my stable. They must be able to 
ride and drive, or they will be miserable. There 
they are, driving in. Tell me, — may I please 
myself.-* " 

** Must I accept so much from you } " Her heart 
beat loudly. She turned away her head, and her 
lip quivered with momentary pride. For an in- 
stant she rebelled against her fate. "This woman 
will despise me, and he knows it," she thought. 
He stepped toward her, and, stooping, looked in 
her face. Something glistened on her eyelashes, 
but she lifted her head and held out her hand with 
a smile, noting the look of pain in his eyes. 

"Forgive me. I can do nothing else, and I need 
your help more than ever now. I do appreciate 
your kindness, I do; but that only makes it harder. 
Otherwise I could lift my head above it, even if 
she did despise me; but now — - Oh, wait, I must 
call mamma. Stay and take dinner with them. 
Please ! " 

She was gone. He went to assist his mother 
from the carriage, and when he turned toward the 
house again she stood in the doorway, radiant as a 
queen. 

"Will you go directly to your rooms. ^ " she said. 
"A journey like this is so fatiguing." 

"We are not in the least weary," said Mrs. Mar- 
shall. " Clare, where is my — " but Clare was 
already at the top of the stairs, following the maid. 
14 



CHAPTER XVII 

A GIRL'S WAY 

" £^HE is as frail as if a breath would blow 

^[j her away," said Portia, dropping into her 
mother's room a moment before dinner. "What 
a dear little place your room is to rest in ! " She 
threw herself on her mother's lounge, and locked 
her hands together over her head. 

" How little we see of each other now ! " said her 
mother, with a half-sigh. 

" Yes, but I am having my reward. I can see 
you growing stronger, and for the rest I am not 
going to care. Of course it will be harder than at 
first, now Mr. and Mrs. Percy are gone, and there 
are more strangers, and Mrs. Marshall has come; 
I felt her presence the moment she stepped over 
the threshold. I see I shall feel just this way 
every minute she is here, whether she is with me 
or not." 

"Feel what way, daughter.? " 

"I can't forget for an instant that she is in the 
house. She looks like a wraith, — as if she had 
come here to haunt it." 

"Don't let your brilliant imagination get the 
better of you, dear. In my opinion she is in- 
tensely human." 

"I have asked Mr. Marshall to dinner with his 
mother. It will help to get over the first evening, 

2IO 



A Girl's Way 21 1 

and I '11 rearrange the tables. Mr. Betts is always 
so cheery; I '11 ask him to sit at grandfather's 
table, and put Mrs. Marshall there too. She must 
like grandfather, if she likes any one. How will 
that do ? " 

"Very well, I should think." 

A merry peal of laughter rang out on the quiet 
air from the yard below. Portia rose and looked 
out. Marguerite was talking with John and romp- 
ing with Juliet. 

" They are on good terms already, — she and 
Juliet; look, mamma. What a pretty little gypsy! 
There comes Mr. Russell up the path. I do hope 
he will fall in love with her; it would save me a 
world of trouble. Don't look as if you thought me 
bad, mamma; I am going down." She went to the 
mirror, and looked in absent-mindedly, poking at 
her fluffy hair. " Mamma, what shall I do about 
Mr. Russell.'' They say he is worth millions, 
and he stays and stays. Would you like a son-in- 
law worth millions.-* Would you like one about 
your age, mamma, — a nice companionable one.? " 
Portia's eyes danced. "Now you think me bad 
again, but you don't tell me what to do." She 
added a touch of lilac to her white dress, and sat 
down at her mother's feet. 

I thought you were going down, dear." 
You are evading. You were asked a question. 
Mr. Russell will go to his room in a moment, and 
I will go down. I have ten more precious minutes 
at least with you, so now tell me." 

The mother kissed her smooth forehead. "Fol- 
low your heart, deary." 






2 1 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"I can't until I know I have one," she said, 
albeit with a guilty conscience. "What there is 
of my heart you have. I could do just everything 
for you, — could go to Europe, besides, and finish 
my studies, — fulfil some of my old ambitions — 
and — well, I wouldn't keep boarders, at any rate. " 
" Has he said anything — has he asked — " 
"I have managed to escape thus far." Her 
cheeks flamed. "It is very convenient to have 
duties now and then. Three times he has tried 
to say what I could not let him say. He told me 
the finest thing in the world for you would be to 
take the Marienbad baths, and he keeps making 
plans, — says I should be in Germany, or Italy, to 
become what I might, and that I am wasting my 
talents here. It 's all very true, but I must marry a 
fortune and step into a heart vacated by some one 
else to do it, and he knows I must. If you were 
a man, would you bribe a girl to marry you.? I 
would not." 

You said he is my age. He can't be so old." 
He is twenty years older than I, at least." . ,- 
" But that is not so very old. " / / -t? ^ 

" No, not for a man, — and with ever so much 
money," she said mischievously. "How merce- 
nary that sounds ! Let 's not talk of it any more." 
" But you know you must — " 
"I know only too well; but what must I do.-* " 
"Whatever you do, consult only your heart, 
child; no other course is safe." 

" Shall we go down } I must look over the 
tables. Oh, dear! There is the bell. I told 
Andy not to ring it in the halls again." 






A GirFs Way 213 

Dinner over, the guests gathered, as usual, in 
the drawing-room, but soon divided, some seeking 
the piazza, tempted out by the soft air. John took 
his cousin to one corner, under the honeysuckles, 
where they could see Portia as she poured the 
coffee, the fragrance of which came out through 
the open windows. Juliet lingered by Portia's 
chair, and arranged the pretty cups, handing each 
one to the maid as Portia filled it. 

"I won't pass them to-night, because Johnny 
isn't here any more," she said. 

*'You can stay here and help me, can't you, 
deary .^ Now the little blue cup; that is right. 
You see I need you." So they poured the coffee 
together; and John, talking with Marguerite out- 
side, watched the lamp-light play over Portia's face 
and hair as she bent her head over the little tea- 
table within. Looking out into the gloom from 
the brightness, she could not see his face, but she 
vaguely felt his eyes on her, nevertheless. Mar- 
guerite was watching her also. 

"What a lovely complexion! but I suppose all 
Northern ladies have that." 

"Complexion? Yes, it is good. Why didn't 
mother come down ? " 

Marguerite laughed merrily. "I told her there 
were only old men and women down here, so she 
let me come without her." She leaned forward and 
whispered in his ear, "Aunty said she had no 
doubt they were a vulgar crowd, and, for her part, 
she was in no hurry to make their acquaintance. 
, What do you think.?" 

"We will discuss that another time," he said 
irritatedly. 



214 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"I told her I thought Miss Van Ostade just 
lovely. What do you think?" 

"Possibly you may be right." 

" You ought to know, being right here so long. 
Now, if you are going to be cross the first time we 
have seen each other for a year, I won't sit with 
you. I '11 go and talk to that youngish woman. 
What is her name, — Miss Keeler.? " 

"Miss Keller. She is from Chicago." 

"Well, let 's talk to her. Is she nice.? Not so 
nice as Miss Van Ostade, do you think.-* even if 
she does keep boarders." 

" No, no, sit still. Here comes the coffee. Will 
you have sugar ? Yes. Cream ? No. I remem- 
ber. I fail to see what keeping boarders has to 
do with niceness." 

"I know, you always fail to see something; but 
there, never mind. We are not going to quarrel 
this whole summer long, are we.? I mean, of 
course, if I do everything you wish me to, and 
think just as you do about everything. We never 
do quarrel when I do that." 

"Marguerite, do you really mean what you say.? 
Come, take that last back. Let me hold your 
cup." 

"No, thanks. I don't mean quite all of it, no; 
but now I am going to say what I really do mean. 
In spite of all I can do, John, we are going to have 
a time of it. Aunty has n't gotten over her absurd 
notion yet." John leaned toward her as she spoke 
in low tones, and Portia passed them to talk with 
some guests who had only arrived the evening ^ 
before; but John was too much absorbed in Mar- 



A Girl's Way 215 

guerite's words to know that Portia's skirts had 
brushed his chair. 

"There is only one thing left to do, John. You 
must fall in love with some one else. That would 
settle the matter for good and all." 

He laughed. "Why don't you do that.?" he 
said. 

"Why don't I.'* I have tried it over and over 
again, till she watches me as a cat watches a 
mouse." She patted her foot on the ground im- 
patiently. John straightened himself and looked 
about. Portia was leading the guests in to her 
mother and Mrs. Keller. Mr. Russell followed 
and led her to the piano, and John looked away. 

"John, put your head down so I can talk to you. 
How provoking you are! I have more to say." 

" Let me take your cup back first," he said, long- 
ing to be near Portia, if only for a moment. 

" I am not through with it yet. Listen. You 
must fall in love with some one; there is no other 
way, — I have thought it all out. Now Miss Van 
Ostade is lovely; you can see that for yourself, if 
you have any sense. Men are so stupid about such 
things." The notes of the piano came out to 
them. Portia had persuaded Mrs. Clare to play a 
nocturne, and sat near with her hands dropped in 
her lap, and her head leaning against the wall, 
listening and thinking. 

John glanced that way, and rose. "What non- 
sense ! Marguerite, are you ever going to be wise ? " 
but she was wiser than he thought. " Come, give 
me the cup. The others are sending theirs back." 

**John, listen. Either you must give up and 



2 1 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

marry me (stop scowling), or fall in love with her. 
Aunty is on the war path again." 

"Goodness! Don't talk so loud. Very well, 
then, 1*11 marry you." 

" No, you won't." 

The maid took the cups from him as he entered 
the hall, and he turned to speak to Hanford, who 
was just coming down the stairs. 

"Why were you not here at dinner? " he asked. 

"I was detained," said Hanford, hastily, and 
passed on out. He lingered near the chair John 
had just vacated, while the piano rippled on, and 
Marguerite leaning over the piazza rail, watched 
the fountain playing in the long path of light 
which streamed from the open door. 

"Miss McLourie," he said at length, bending 
toward her. She started violently. " I beg par- 
don; I was too abrupt. May I take this chair? " 

She held out her hand and half rose. " Cer- 
tainly. It is John's place. I was going in, — but 
I am glad to see you." 

"Then prove it by staying a moment, will you 
not ? " 

"I am afraid aunt will want me." 

"Only an instant. It is so long since I have 
seen you. It is years." 

" Barely one year, " she said, seating herself again. 

" Surely, you are right. But it is years to me, 
and this is the last place I ever dreamed of another 
meeting." 

"I wondered why you ever came to this uncivi- 
lized — what shall I call it? I understand now." 

"Call it wonderland. Do you understand? " 



A Girl's Way 217 

"Of course. Haven't you just told me you 
thought this the last place 011 earth where there 
would be any chance of seeing me ? " She looked 
at the fountain again. 

He took up the end of one of the long cherry 
ribbons that hung down over her white costume, 
and mechanically wound it round his fingers. " Did 
you receive the letter I sent you a few weeks ago ? " 
he said. She looked down at the toe of her boot, 
and then away at the garden. The guests had col- 
lected in the drawing-room, all but Mr. Button 
and Mr. Ridgeway, who remained talking on the 
steps. "You did not get it? " he repeated slowly. 

"I did not say so." She turned and looked full 
in his face. "I said nothing." 

"And you wrote nothing." 

"We were coming so soon, and, anyway, I don't 
see what your thinking John and I were engaged 
had to do with your actions. I rather liked being 
engaged to him; it pleased aunty, and I had ever 
so much more freedom. Aunty let me do just 
whatever I pleased." 

Mrs. Clare came to the door and looked out. 
"Oh, Mr. Ridgeway," she said, "I was looking for 
you. We want you to play an obligato for Miss 
Van Ostade, if you will, — the one you played last 
evening." 

"Certainly," he replied, and began to tune his 
violin. 

"Are they to have more music.'* Then we would 
better go in." 

"It will sound far better out here," said Han- 
ford ; but she walked restlessly toward the door. 



2 1 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Come out in the garden, then. Let us walk 
once around the fountain, and through those paths 
and back. They are listening to the music; you 
will not be missed, nor shall I; besides, I must 
talk to you, if only for a moment." 

"No, don't talk to me," she said, laughing, and 
taking his arm. "I will go if you won't talk to 
me." 

" But I must. We never finished our last talk. 
Why not .? " 

"You are as serious as Aunt Isabel when she 
has a lecture in store for me. Besides, I want to 
listen. I love a violin, — ^ and — Oh, what a 
voice! Who sings like that.?" 

"Miss Van Ostade. Please look at me, Miss 
McLourie." 

"I can't, in the dark." 

" Marguerite, it is not dark. You can see me. 
Marguerite, why did you come here if you did not 
want me to tell you this.? You knew I must; you 
knew I could not see you without telling you. You 
knew why I went away so suddenly, — ^ because I 
could not trust myself to be near you. Now you 
are here, I can do nothing else. Marguerite." He 
took her hand, which was slipping from his arm, 
and held it. "When you knew how I must love 
you, all this long time, have you never thought 
of me, never once.? Is it nothing to you that you 
have a man's heart in your keeping.? Is it noth- 
ing to you but a plaything?" 

She gave a light laugh, but her hand trembled 
in his. He felt the tremor, and his fingers closed 
over it. 



A Girl's Way 219 

"No, I don't like men's hearts to play with; I 
like something better. Aunt Isabel always told 
me men's hearts are bad; that is why I won't have 
any of them. " 

"You have everything; I have nothing, only my 
love for you. That masters me. I can fight against 
it no longer. " 

"Do you think it very complimentary to fight 
against it.'' I don't." He drew her hand to his 
lips, but she took it from him. " If you do so, I 
sha'n't talk to you," 

"It is because I have only — Oh, can't you un- 
derstand.^ " 

" Do you think, if you had all the wealth in the 
world, if you were king of all the earth, that by 
adding that to your love you could make me love 
you if I did not love you without.''" 

She stood before him with clinched hands and 
flashing eyes, this little giant of tyranny; but as 
suddenly her mood changed. She shrugged her 
shoulders and spread out her hands with a laugh. 
He took them both, but she drew them away. 

" No, no. I will not talk, I will be free, I tell 
you, and have a good time all summer long, and 
you must not trouble me so." 

"Does it trouble you so that I love you.'* " His 
voice was very low. 

"Yes, it does. I tell you it does. I never tried 
to make you love me. I will be free. I have 
never had freedom like other American girls. I am 
an American girl, — I was born here, if my mother 
was Spanish, — yet Aunt Isabel would always 
keep me tied to her every moment, or would tie me 



1 



2 20 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

to some one else, whether I will or not. No, I will 
not hear you. 1 will be free, and go about alone 
everywhere, and do what I please. I will be tied 
to no one. I have been led about all my life like 
a little pet dog, and now, for this one summer, I 
will go my own way, I will." 

He spoke very tenderly. *' Marguerite, you little 
wild bird — " 

"There it is again." She sprang from his touch. 
" I am a woman with a soul of her own. If I were 
a wild bird, what would you do.-* Put me in a 
cage. Oh, I am afraid of you all. Let us go back 
to the house. If you love me, take me back." 

Once more he drew her hand gently through his 
arm. " We will go back. Marguerite. You are 
right. See, now, how I love you. All through 
this long year I have thought of you; hour after 
hour I have longed for one look into your eyes; 
your name has been on my lips; and here, this 
little glove I have kissed a thousand times, have 
slept with it under my pillow because you had 
worn it — and yet I banished myself here in this 
lonely place, never to see you again, because of 
my friend, to be true to him. Now you are near 
me at last ; you came of yourself. Oh, Marguerite, 
Marguerite ! " His voice shook. She would have 
spoken, but he continued : " Now, because I love 
you more than my own soul, hear me; I will never 
speak to you of my love again until you give me 
permission. You beautiful woman, with your 
woman's soul, it is your right to be as free as the 
winds of heaven. I would not hold you now if I 
could, until you come to me of yourself, and find 



A Girl's Way 221 

my arms no longer a fetter but a resting-place; but 
I shall love you, I shall love you, and trust that 
'some day — Only this once — here, in the shadow 
— no? Marguerite, this once on your lips. See, 
I promise you, — there, it is sealed with that kiss, 
and that and that, — forever, until I may, I will not 
seek to bind you, nor hold you even by my love. 
If you think this is nothing that I promise, remem- 
ber how I must see you day after day, and say only 
the little commonplaces that others say, and even 
see others trying to win what I have promised to 
wait for even to the grave." They were silent. 
"Marguerite, have you nothing to say?" 

She looked up. " Only this, if you care for it. 
I will let no one take your — no one shall win me, 
but I will be free, and — • " 

"And what?" 

" Never mind." She put out her hands in a half- 
repentant way, and he took them both. " But — I 
am sorry, only I can't help it all." 

"You go in alone, little one. I am going to 
walk. To-morrow I will try to meet you just as a 
common friend. You will be so free that you will 
forget even that I love you. " He kissed her fingers 
and turned quickly away. 

Marguerite lingered without, and finally sat on 
the edge of the fountain. The sound of the violin 
came to her in fitful quavers, like a wail. She 
cried a little, then wiped her eyes, and threw 
pebbles in the water. Poor little one! her heart 
ached, but she said, "I don't care. It is his own 
fault. Why should he persist in loving me, when 
he sees how it troubles me? I will go in and not 



22 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

care." But she did not go in, and she did care. 
She waited there in the deepening darkness until 
Mrs. Marshall sent Clare to call her. John stood 
in the door. He had forgotten his little cousin for 
the time, 

"I will find Miss McLourie," he said to the 
maid. "She was here a moment since." 

He stepped out, but the chairs were empty. He 
sauntered toward the fountain to wait their re- 
turn, and a white little figure moved among the 
shadows. " Why, Marguerite, what are you doing 
here.?" 

"Throwing pebbles in the water, and listening to 
the music." 

"Alone.'* Where is Hanford .-* I thought he was 
with you.' 

"Mr. Clark.? How should I know where he is? 
Why did n't you come back ? " 

" I don't know. I thought you would both be in, 
in a moment. I am sorry." 

"Oh, never mind. And so this is where you 
used to live ! What a perfectly lovely place ! Let 's 
go off and have all kinds of good times riding and 
driving. Are there any nice people here, just to 
make things lively, you know.?" 

" Yes, a few. I really thought you would find 
the house such a ramshackly old affair you would 
be glad to hurry away. What is there about it 
you find so perfectly lovely.?" 

"Oh, — I don't know. It isn't the house ex- 
actly; it 's her way, and the whole air of the place, 
and the trees, and that delicious old gentleman we 
were talking with before dinner, and the hills, and 



A Girl's Way 223 

oh, everything. The freedom most of all, and the 
violin, and the rest of the music, and — " 

"Aren't you rather mixing things? Her way, 
and the trees, and the delicious old gentleman, — 
one would think he was something we had served 
up for dinner." 

"We had. I served him up for myself, and sea- 
soned him with — what do you think ? " 

"I am sure I can't tell." 

"With Miss Van Ostade. Do you know he is in 
love with her.^ She knows it, if you don't." 

John gave an inward start. " Let a woman alone 
for making such a discovery," he replied in an 
indifferent tone. 

"Of course you don't care," she said, watchfully. 
"But it was fun to see it going on under one's very 
nose. Is he rich .? He has the air of a rich man. 
Now, if he is, and she should marry him, what a 
good time she could have!" 

" Marguerite, did you ever have one serious 
thought in your life.?" 

"Isn't that a serious thought? I am sure it 
must be for him. I mean what I say." 

"Don't mean it, then." 

"There! I thought you weren't so indifferent 
as you would have me think. Now you see." 

" I never saw any one who would presume to form 
opinions on such slight occasion." 

They were going up the steps. Marguerite would 
not trust herself in the lighted room. 

"Oh, Miss Van Ostade, you cannot imagine how 
charming your voice sounded out here. Why did 
you stop singing? I was enjoying it so! Good- 



224 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

night, John. Good-night, Miss Van Ostade. No, 
I can't stay. Aunty wants me. Good-night." 
She left them standing there, and hurried up the 
dingy old stairway. 

" Have you seen Josephus lately } " said Portia. 

" No, I have been so busy I have not been near 
for a day or two. He is doing very well, though. 
It is better that he should not go about for a 
while." 

"Only think. All my life I must feel myself 
partly the cause of that awful deed, — shooting 
men down like that, — innocent men." 

" Come farther from the door, and sit here a 
moment," said John. "I want to speak of it only 
where there is no possibility of being overheard. 
Surely, you are not blaming yourself still. I beg 
you will not. Have you told any one.'* " 

" Not even my mother; only you. I think keep- 
ing silence in this way only makes me feel more 
guilty. What must one suffer who has really 
committed such a crime intentionally?" She 
leaned her head on her hand, sitting there where 
Marguerite had sat only so short a time before. 

" Must it be that you continue to brood over 
this.?" 

" Mr. Marshall, tell me truly. Would you — but 
I will not ask. I know you would not, and yet 
would not like to tell me so." 

"Please ask me." He stood leaning against the 
pillar and looking down at her. 

" I was going to ask you if you would have done 
what I did, but I know well enough you would 
not." 






A Girl's Way 225 

"Why should you give me less credit for bein 
merciful ? " he laughed. 

" You would have been far more merciful, be- 
cause wiser. You would have taken immediate 
steps toward the capture of that wretch, who was 
the cause of all the trouble." 

" Ah, there is where you mistake. Believe me, he 
was the occasion only, — the cause lies far deeper 
than either of us can fathom. Won't you trust me 
that you are in no way responsible for it ? " 

In the midst of his desire to comfort her came 
the thought of Marguerite's suggestion, that possi- 
bly Mr. Russell might be more to her than he. 

"I wish I might believe you, but seeing that 
sight gives me a sense of iniquity I cannot shake off. 
I keep saying, ' If I had only done differently ! ' " 

In spite of Marguerite's suggestion, he congratu- 
lated himself that at last he had her all to himself, 
away from her cares, in the coolness and shadow. 
He took the chair near hers. 

"If you had done differently, as you say, you 
might have had something else to regret all your 
life. You might have given information, it is true, 
but, in my opinion, Josephus would have been 
hung along with Pete, and you would have felt 
even more to blame, for you would have been the 
direct cause of a murder." 

Portia shivered, and covered her face with her 
hands, as she had done that night. 

"Oh, don't let us talk of it any more. I am 
afraid you are right. I wish I could get away from 
this terrible place. That night has taken all my 
delight in it away." 
15 



226 When the Gates Lift Up then- Heads 

Mrs. Barry's laugh came out to them in high 
crescendo. Mrs. Clare and Mr. Ridgeway were 
trying snatches of new music together, and, among 
the new boarders, a light-haired young man from 
New Jersey seemed to be striking up a lively ac- 
quaintance with Miss Keller. John was leaning 
toward Portia in the same attitude she had seen 
him in when he sat there with Marguerite. She 
rose instantly. 

"It will not do to stay out here; I forget my 
duty as hostess," she said, and added hastily, 
"Thank you. You have helped me see this 
trouble of mine in another way." 

John looked at her helplessly for an instant. 
Going ? And what had he gained ? He took a hasty 
step, and, catching her hand, drew her after him. 

"Come away," he said. "They are not even 
missing you. Come where you cannot hear the 
sound of their voices. You are far too conscien- 
tious. No wonder your pleasure here is gone, tied 
to these people as you are." He led her with long 
strides down one of the foot-paths. Portia laughed. 

"This is the way I used to run away from my 
nurse," she said. Other laughter reached them 
from the house. 

"There, you see what a good time they are hav- 
ing without you," he said. They looked back and 
saw Mr. Russell standing in the doorway, gazing 
out into the darkness. Portia started. 

"Oh, oh! I knew I was neglecting something." 
She would have returned, but he continued to lead 
her on, and she yielded with a delicious sense of 
resting, if only for a moment, in the will of another. 



A Girl's Way 227 



"What are you neglecting? " 

" I promised to play backgammon with Mr. 
Russell." 

"Why should he monopolize you away from all 
the rest? Let him play with Mrs. Keller." 

"I wish he would." She spoke with an uncon- 
scious sigh. 

"Why shouldn't he?" said John, between his 
teeth. 

" I must treat all my guests with equal courtesy, 
you know. I played with Mr. Betts last evening, 
and promised this to him. I must go." 

"So they vie with each other for your time? I 
would do the same were I as fortunate as they. I 
will, as it is. Come, let me steal five minutes 
only of Mr. Russell's time. I used to play hide- 
and-go-seek among these trees, but I never 
dreamed, then, of playing it quite in this way, 
with an old man." Portia laughed merrily. "If 
you laugh like that, he will hear you and find you. 
Confess. Don't you like walking out here in the 
cool air better than being cooped up in the house 
with him, playing backgammon?" 

"Ah, but my life is not one of doing as I would 
exactly, although," she added quickly, "it is one 
of my own choosing, for the present, at least." 

"And if you could do just as you choose, what 
would you do ? " 

She laughed again. The quick walk sent the 
blood bounding from her heart, and woke in her 
the merry mood. " Oh, it would take far more 
than your five minutes to tell a small part of all I 
would do." 



2 28 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"Take it, then. I have no conscience. Give it 
to me." 

"No, no, no. I must go back." 

"Tell me, first, will you ride Brown Betty .<* I 
have sent her to the stables with instructions to 
Alexander." She was silent, and he urged again, 
" You only half consented this afternoon. Ride 
her every day, and forget your numerous oughts." 

"You do this only to give me pleasure. What 
can I do .-* I dare not say ' no, ' and I dare not say 
' yes. ' Don't you know — " 

"I only know what my wishes are. You like to 
give pleasure to others; won't you give this to me.-* 
Let me have my way. I shall be having my pleas- 
ure out of the horse, if you will let me go with you 
sometimes, as I could get it in no other way." 

"I can't call her mine, as you said." 

" But you must. I will relieve you of all care 
in the matter. She must be yours for six months. 
You must have the independence that possession 
alone will give you. Truly," he added gravely, 
" I am asking a great privilege. It is my only way 
of claiming, sometimes, your companionship, away 
from all these others. I promise you I will only 
do so by your leave, now and then, Miss Van 
Ostade." 

" Please do not think me ungracious. Perhaps 
my pride is too great ; but, really, it is too much 
to accept." She felt the hurt she was giving him, 
and relented. " To-morrow morning I will ride 
her as you wish, Mr. Marshall. I will go before 
any one is up. That is my time for running away 
from people. I will be gloriously happy among 



» 



A Girl's Way 229 

these hills before any one else knows day has 
begun. I won't try to thank you any more because 
I cannot." 

" Now I must be satisfied, and leave you to your 
partner for backgammon. But tell me first, you 
did not find my little mother so very formidable, 
did you ? " 

" How could I ? She is so frail. I only hope 
she may be happy here. You have helped me to 
forget some of the discomfort I was feeling. Your 
cousin has charmed me and you have talked and 
walked me out of half my horrible misgivings, — 
I have been unhappy since that night, — and to- 
morrow morning I will ride off the other half if I 



:an. 



"If you can .'' You must. Good-night." 

"Good-night." 

They parted, and John walked off into the dark- 
ness, as Hanford Clark had done a few minutes 
earlier, but with tingling nerves and bounding 
heart. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
SPECIAL PLEADING 

HI dar, yo' Andy, wha' yo' duin' wiv dat boss? 
Dat ar bery partic'lar. Mist' Jobn done 
tor me don' 'low none o' yo' tecb 'im." 

"Ob, yo' g'long. I jes' slickin' ber daoun." 

" I knows yo' boy. Yo' gwine teacb ber trickses. 
Boy ain' no good. Dey 's all bad." 

*' Miz Po'tia say sbe wan' de boss dis-yer mawnin' 
rigbt smabt. " 

"Yo' kyan' tell me nuffin', boy. Yo' t'ink Miz 
Po'tia gwine give o'dahs tu fool boy like yo' is.? 
G'long yandab 'n' tote beab nudder bucket o' co'n 
feed 'n' clean de boss sbed." Tbus Alexander 
sputtered in tbe importance of bis newly-acquired 
old dignity. 

"I sball expect you to do everytbing as well and 
carefully as you used to for your old master, Alex- 
ander," Portia bad said. "And you will teacb 
Andrew to take care of tbe stables and keep tbings 
in order, will you not.-* " 

"I will dat, ma'm, yas 'm. I reckon I kin teach 

Andy, yas'm." He puckered bis wrinkled face 

and looked at Andy, who was setting onions in a 

corner of tbe patcb Mr. Ridgeway bad devoted to 

tbe purposes of kitcben garden, in a doubtful way. 

"Yas'm, Andy a dre'fle or'nary nigger, but I 'low 

I kin Tarn 'imV' 

230 



special Pleading 231 

Thus was Alexander installed as commander-in- 
chief of the stables, quite to Portia's satisfaction, 
and more so to his own. * Indeed, had she been 
unable to find a coachman trained under the old 
regime, she would have been put to endless trouble 
and expense; since the younger generation, com- 
ing up without the restrictions of the old days, 
were the most irresponsible of all human creatures. 
The old man was always to be seen at break 
of day, pottering around the stables, muttering to 
himself, or scolding Andrew, or — if his young 
mistress appeared on the scene — ready with a 
plentiful supply of blarney, and much genuine cour- 
tesy, to anticipate her wishes, if they coincided 
with his own, or to skilfully evade them if they 
did not. 

Portia stood upon the horse-block, slowly draw- 
ing on her gloves, and watching the light creep 
down the mountain side, touching the tops of dark, 
clustering pines, and revealing hidden ravines and 
far-off precipices. The old man spied her, and 
snatching off his tattered hat, started toward her 
with a shuffling trot of ostentatious haste, leading 
the beautiful little brown mare. 

Portia took a lump of sugar from her pocket, and 
coaxed and petted her, putting her arms around the 
gentle creature's neck, and would have kissed her 
sleek coat, had not Alexander been watching. 

"Dey ain' no boss nebber been in dis-yer No'th 
C'liny shine like she shine sence ol' Mars daid," 
he said, with pride. "Mist' John say, 'Alexandah, 
min' yo' don' 'low no fool boy tech her. Dat ah 
Miss Po'tia's boss,' he say, 'an' min' yo' keep 'er 



232 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

like she b'long tu de mos' fines' lady ebber lib in 
dis yearth. ' He say — " 

"That 's right, Alexander, you have done well, 
indeed you have," cried Portia, springing to her 
seat in the saddle. She gathered up the reins, and 
was off like a shot, past the clump of dogwood- 
trees where she had sat that morning and thought 
herself alone. 

" I wonder if he did see me racing down the 
road, and where he was ! " Then she began wonder- 
ing other things about him, and what she ought to 
do about the horse. Should she accept so great a 
favor.? Could she.-* *'I can't exactly refuse to ride 
this little darling." She sighed. "What is the 
use of fretting! I will be happy for this one morn- 
ing, no matter what comes ; " and she was. 

A low bank of cloud, presaging a warm day, 
hung in the east, and the sun was slow in climbing 
above it. She turned in the direction of Mammy 
Clarissa's cabin, ascending, slowly, the steep hill 
at the foot of which was the brawling stream with 
the hewn log for a foot bridge. Scarcely a breath 
of air stirred the leaves overhead. A bird-note 
now and again broke the stillness with a sleepy, 
half awake twitter. Her horse's feet made a 
rhythmic clatter on the hard road-bed, and the 
rushing stream far down the long sweep of shaded 
hillside seemed an accompaniment, — a sweet, in- 
sistent, harmonizing note like a gentle undercur- 
rent to her happy thoughts. 

Her anxieties slipped away from her one by one, 
and she fell into a revery of sweet thoughts, fit- 
ting well with the charm of the morning and the 



special Pleading 233 

subtle beauty of earth and sky, and the trees and 
hills, and all the happy, contented things around 
her. 

Clusters of shrubs that had not yet lost their 
bloom filled the air with fragrance. She spied a 
squirrel in a mighty chestnut-tree perhaps reckon- 
ing on its future crop. Sometimes the stillness 
seemed intense, then would begin many little 
noises, — soft bird-calls, dropping twigs, or a light 
breeze making rustlings and whisperings over her 
head. 

Once it seemed to her that a bit of one of her 
own songs floated up to her in a merry whistle from 
the stream below. Could it be — but no. It must 
be some negro boy gathering "light-'ud" on the 
hillside. While the little horse took her own 
time, stopping now and then to crop a bit of leaf- 
age, Portia let her mind dwell on the events of the 
evening before. She saw her sheet of music being 
rolled up and carried away, and felt his face near 
hers as it had been that one moment ; then she saw 
him seated, looking into Marguerite's eyes, and 
then she felt herself being drawn down the garden 
paths, and the touch of his hand as he bade her 
good-night, and wondered if it was Marguerite, 
after all, who filled his thoughts; and as she won- 
dered, the creeping sensation of pleasure came 
stealing through her whole being; but she put it 
from her as soon as she felt its growing power, or 
tried to do so. " Of course he loves that beautiful 
girl ; how could he help it } — And yet, — " and 
again that sweetest of all sensations came creeping 
from her heart to her finger-tips. 



2 34 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Clatter, clatter, clatter, sounded the fall of her 
horse's hoofs, and louder grew the noise of the 
rushing water as she neared the stream. 

" Ah, ha ! A brown study, or a rosy study ? So 
this is the way she comes lagging down the hill, 
the lazy little horse. I was beginning to think 
you had lost your way." 

Portia's face flamed crimson. Ah, the betrayal 
of her thoughts! She stooped and patted Brown 
Betty's neck to hide her face for very shame, and, 
turning her head, looked down the stream. 

" You did not know we were coming this way, — 
Brown Betty and I," she said, with a laugh. 

John sprang from the log where he had been sit- 
ting, and walked toward her. His horse whinnied 
from the clump of alder bushes where he had tied 
him, and stepped restlessly about. "Still, Clyde," 
he said sternly. "Didn't I know you would be 
bent on an errand of mercy .'*" 

Portia's happy thoughts had left their impress 
on her face, and part of its charm lay in the fact 
that she was unconscious of its transparency. Her 
eyes glowed with a light that was not from without 
her heart. 

"This for your thoughts," he said, holding a 
penny on his palm. She leaned over, and giving 
the back of his hand a light tap, sent the penny fly- 
ing over his head. 

"There it goes, thoughts and all," she cried. 
"You may have them if you can catch them." 

He stood a moment, petting Brown Betty's neck, 
and watching her face. 

" What a noisy stream ! " she said. 



special Pleading 235 

"What was the rosy-brown study about? I have 
a reason for asking " 






b 



" I did not know you were here. 

*' Of course not ! so you were happy ? " 

" I told you I would be gloriously happy, riding 
over these hills, and forgetting everything. You 
see my thoughts were only forgettings, not worth a 
penny." 

** Everything, — had you forgotten ? " 

"Every unpleasant thing." He still looked in 
her face, and she turned away again, and gazed into 
the stream, as before. 

*' I came here on purpose to see you, — alone." 
He spoke in a tense way, and she paled a little, 
but said nothing. " I even prayed, — if wishing 
with my heart in heaven that you might come this ^ 
way may be called praying, because — I had a 
fright last evening." 

She raised her hand to her throat and grew still 
paler. " Oh, this awful country ! What has hap- 
pened now.? Everything seemed so beautiful a 
moment ago." She glanced behind her nervously. 
" Have those men turned against you ? " 

"You beautiful, brave girl, are you afraid.''" 
He came a step nearer, and took hold of her wrist. 
He could feel the tremor even through her riding 
glove. " Not for yourself, I know, for I have seen 
you brave. No, this is worse than any mere physi- 
cal danger to me. This might ruin my whole life. 
My little cousin last night told me what I, with 
my man's blindness, never thought of fearing. I 
never thousrht to look for it, because love is blind." 
He still felt her wrist quiver in his grasp, and took 



236 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

her hand in both his own. "Yes, let me tell you, 
— let me tell it all. I have the most right, for I 
am young and he is old. I, too, love you. Do 
not take your hand from me until you hear me 
through. I was not going to tell you this until I 
had earned the right. I was going to wait and win 
you; but now, I dare not wait lest some one snatch 
you from me. What if he loves you ? I do not 
care, I love you more. I am rash and headstrong, 
but I will do my wooing afterwards. All my life I 
will be your lover." He spoke rapidly, impetu- 
ously. His own hands trembled now, and he 
reached for both of hers. 

Her lips quivered, and her eyes filled with tears. 
"No, no. Wait." She took her hands from his 
grasp. "I can't think." 

"Will he wait,? It is life to me. Must I lose 
all, who love you best.? Has he all the right to 
speak and I none, because he has had time for 



wooing 



? " 



" How could Miss McLourie — " 

" How could she know so soon ? A woman 
divines. I am a man, — a blind lover who sits 
and waits." 

Portia's heart seemed choking her. She tried to 
speak, but her lips only moved. 

"What right has he above me.?" he went on, 
savagely. 

"Oh, do not," she said, at last. "He is only a 
kindly, sweet-tempered old man, and not so old but 
that he has the right to feel young. " 

"Yes, and to love you." 

The crimson flamed again to the roots of her 



Special Pleading 237 

hair, and her breast heaved. ** I have given him 
no encouragement to do so, nor — " she stopped 
abruptly. 

"Nor to me.?" 

"I was not going to say that." 

" Forgive me. I am daring all for fear of losing 
all. What can I say to you.'' How can I make 
you know how I love you? Do you care.-* Out 
there in the darkness, alone, listening to you sing, 
I loved you before ever I saw you. I knew the face 
that went with the voice would be like yours, and 
when I saw it I loved it. Let me try to win you." 
Still she could not speak ; her mouth and throat 
were dry. "That is all I ask now, only to try to 
win you." He held out his hands to her once 
more, then let them drop by his side. He trembled 
to lift her down and hold her in his arms, but stood 
still and waited. She unbuttoned and buttoned 
her gloves nervously, then drew them off and put 
them on again. 

"There is much I wish to say," she said at last, 
"before I even tell you that." 

The reins dropped down on Betty's neck, and 
she improved the opportunity to crop some long 
tufts of grass. Portia pulled off her gloves again, 
straightening out the fingers, one by one. At last, 
with glistening eyes she looked in his. He could 
not stand that pathetic look, and sprang to lift her 
down ; but she placed her two hands on his shoul- 
ders, and gently pushed him back. 

"Wait until I can speak of this rightly. Oh, 
can't you see.-^ It is my heart against my con- 
science." He threw her gloves on the bank, and, 



238 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

taking her bare hands in his, kissed them. "Don't 
make it hard for me," she pleaded. 

"I will," he said, in a low voice. "I will make 
it impossible for you to say what you are trying to 
say if I can. First of all, tell me, have you given 
some one else — • " 

"No, no, that isn't it. Give me time to tell 
you." She struggled to gain possession of her 
hands. He let them go, and, suddenly reaching 
up, took her down from the saddle in his arms. 

"If you will not let me have your hands I will 
have you. If there is no one before me I will win 
you. I will be your lover, forever, do you hear.!* 
No one shall take you from me. Portia, look up. 
Once ? Let me. There ! Once more. Now, see ? 
You are mine." 

" Oh, not yet, not yet. Let me talk a little and 
you will see why." 

"Once more, on your lips. See.-* I am waiting." 

"But not so. Take your arms away first. I 
must talk now, it is my right." Her eyes flashed 
into his, yet she trembled. He led her to the 
great stump where she and her grandfather had 
passed Josephus and Gabriella that winter day, 
— ages ago it seemed to her now. She felt 
weak, and leaned against the log that spanned the 
stream. 

John tied Brown Betty to a sapling, and, return- 
ing, sat down beside her. Neither of them spoke. 
She looked away from him, gazing into the tum- 
bling water, as before. At last he reached out to 
her, but she put his hand back, holding it from her 
with gentle touch. 



Special Pleading 239 

"Now you must listen to me. Think a moment 
how short a time you have known me." 

" Every week has been a year, because I dared 
not tell you I was loving you." 

" But is it right for you to expect me — " 

"No. I ask only that I may love you, — that I 
may be your lover." 

"Ah, but that is everything." 

"I tell you I will do all that other lovers do 
afterward. All the happiness of my life is staked 
on this one hour." 

" You must not say, nor think that. There are 
reasons. Mother and grandfather are dependent 
on me. " She spread out her hands — those help- 
ful hands — in a hopeless way. " Is not that 
enough ? I told you the battle was with my own 
heart, — you must not make it hard for me." She 
bit her lip, as if she would put back her feelings 
as she had put back his hands. "What have 
I done, what have I said that you should love 
me.?" 

" It is all that you do or say to every one every- 
where. We cannot help it, you nor I. It is my 
heart that will not be satisfied without its love for 
you. What you say is nothing. If they are de- 
pendent on you, they must be on me. If they are 
yours, they must be mine. Your heart must speak 
to me, nothing else." 

"Oh, can't you understand.?" She turned on 
him and spoke impetuously, as if her words would 
not be restrained. " It will sweep everything 
before it. How can I keep strong, doing my duty 
every day, as if it were my first pleasure, if I give 



240 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

way to my — to this? I never dreamed of this 
coming upon me away off here. I have work to 
do, and must do it. Oh, why have you come ? I 
have no business to listen to you — I had no busi- 
ness to listen to you last night, nor to ride your 
horse, nor to let go my hold on myself even for a 
moment. My burdens are precious to me, — to 
you they might become burdens indeed. I must 
carry them myself." 

"No, you must let me help you. It is my right, 
by reason of my love." 

She rose and held out her hands to him. " For- 
give me, and let me go. This is only a sudden 
thing with you, — it will pass as quickly as it has 
come. Give up your love now, before it goes any 
farther. For you there may be another, some- 
where, some time; for me only it is hard. For me 
so precious a thing as your love can never come 
again. — Don't speak yet. — I must put it from me, 
and they neither of them must know what I have 
done. Promise me — " she faltered, then went 
bravely on — "promise me that you will put me out 
of your heart, and be happy some day without me. 
It is the only thing you can do, and this love will 
pass sooner than you think possible." 

" Portia, this is madness. Put you out of my 
heart .-^ My own .-^ I will not. Come here, little 
Puritan, you love me. Out of your lips I take the 
words. When I have kissed you like this, even 
though they are stolen kisses, are you not mine, 
forever.? I have your love, and that is enough, — 
I take everything else. If you have a care, it is 
mine. Why, darling, I have enough; all we need 



Special Pleading 241 

for us all. Shall I let you go on as you are doing? 
It is cruel." 

Portia felt the earth swaying under her feet. It 
seemed as if the stream had risen and was sweep- 
ing her along in its rushing waters. It was only 
for a moment. When she opened her eyes they 
looked into the eyes of her lover, and she knew she 
must give him all he asked. 

"This is unreal, it is not right. Why am I 
standing here, forgetting everything? My whole 
hour is gone." 

" It is most real and right. This one moment, 
in which you give yourself to me, is worth living 
my whole life for." 

" I feel as if I were dreaming, and must be 
wakened. Let us ride. You should have listened 
to me. I told you my love was stronger than my 
conscience, that it would sweep all before it; and 
now see what I have done. I have yielded when I 
ought not." Awed by his impetuous onslaught, she 
lifted her face to his in conscience-smitten entreaty. 

"My beautiful, did you think yourself hidden in 
this wilderness, where even love could not find you ? 
Why should you wish that ? I sought for my girl of 
the German bridge and found her here. You could 
no more keep me from loving you than you could 
keep the water from dashing over those rocks." 

" Because of them. It was hard enough for 
grandfather to become dependent in his old age, 
— a thing he never supposed could happen to him ; 
it crushed him to earth. If the duty should be 
placed on any one else it would kill him." 

"We will ride, and talk it over calmly." 
16 



242 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"What have I done with my gloves? " she said. 

John picked them up from v^here he had thrown 
them, and led Brown Betty to her side. 

"Now, put your hand in mine, so " — he stooped 
and looked once more into her eyes — "and call 
me by my homely old name. Say, * John, I love 
you.'" Her hand trembled in his, and her voice 
faltered as she repeated the words after him. Then 
she drew back and looked at him. Suddenly her 
pride gave way. She threw her arms round his 
neck and hid her face in his bosom. 

" Oh, I do, I do. Only it is hard, so hard. I 
wish I had everything and you had nothing. If 
only I could give you everything, I would be 
happy; but now — " 

"But now — shall I finish for you? It is I who 
am to be happy. Is it a little thing you have 
given me? " He lifted her and swung her lightly 
into the saddle, and stood a moment by her side. 
"Do you think I value a woman's love so little? 
Why, Portia, I am the greatest beggar on earth, 
and have asked for the sweetest thing, that is all. 
I am humbled in the dust when I think what I 
have had the temerity to ask for." 

There is no face so beautiful but that it grows 
more so with the light that shines through its 
windows, when the heart has opened its doors and 
taken in the little blind and winged beggar, Love. 
Portia's face glowed with this light as she bent 
down toward her lover at that moment, and touched 
his brow with the tips of her fingers, and felt the 
clustering rings of his hair close round them as she 
lifted it from his forehead. 



Special Pleading 243 

"Are you?" she said, with a smile. "You 
don't look so." 

"No. The touch of your hands makes me a 
king." 

. Then she stooped and kissed the smooth, broad 
forehead she had laid bare. " You must get your 
horse, John ; we will go. I have work to do." 

He raised her hand to his lips. "Your lover 
forever," he said, and did as she bade him. 

Slowly their horses splashed through the ford, 
stepping cautiously over slippery boulders, and 
scrambling up the other side. Portia felt her hap- 
piness quivering through her whole frame, to her 
finger-tips, yet her heart was full of misgivings. 
John, on the contrary, glancing from time to time 
into her beautiful face, with its heightened color, 
was satisfied. He had won the day. 

"Another rosy-brown study? What is it this 
time?" 

She took a deep breath. "The world seems 
different from what it did this morning. It was 
beautiful then, too, but now — I feel as if I had 
been living an age since an hour ago, or were not 
myself. I am so happy, and yet I feel afraid. How 
can it last ! Let us try to talk rationally, and — " 

"We never talked more so. I have done the 
most rational thing of my life." 

" Now you make me laugh at you. No, let us 
talk good common sense. I see a great many diffi- 
culties in the way." 

"Ah, but I don't call that common sense." 

" In the first place, everything must go on just as 
if — as if — " 



244 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" How can everything go on just as if? " 

** Oh, John, you know as well as I that your 
mother would be horrified if she thought you loved 
me, and that beautiful little lady, your cousin — " 

"She is only a distant relative of my mother's," 
he said, evading the first part of her remark. 

" Oh, why have you done this ? Why could you 
not have fallen in love with her? Your mother 
could never have been able to object to that, and 
here you have done what will surely make her 
miserable." 

"You said you wished to talk common sense. 
If you cannot do better than that let me try." 

"Be patient with me. I want a little time to 
win your mother's love, if I can, lest this should 
break her heart. John, promise me that. A 
boarding-house is such a terribly public kind of 
place, where every one is held up for inspection, as 
in a tribunal. " 

"Trust me. If I can't look at you without 
showing my love for you, I will keep my eyes shut 
in your presence, and if they ask the reason I will 
say the light is too — " 

"Please, please don't laugh." 

"Whatever you wish I will consent to; but, 
Portia, I will take you away from all of them once 
in a while. You shall not be more theirs than 
mine. Moreover, this slavery of yours shall not 
go on forever." 

"Oh, where are we going? See how high the 
sun is." She started to turn her horse's head, but 
he detained her. 

"It is not so late, only seven; go on to old 



special Pleading 245 

mammy's first. You were going there. Your lazy 
boarders are just turning over for another nap. 
Was that a sigh? Give me a reason for it." 

"It makes me a little sad to see you so happy. 
I can't tell why, but I fear so much. What good 
is my love to you ? Everything must go on the 
same, and it will make you miserable. I would 
have saved you from this if I could. If I could 
only have known — but then — that would have 
been impossible. A woman dare never allow her- 
self to think that a man is possibly going to love 
her. She can never forestall, because she must 
never know until it is too late." 

"Thank Heaven. I shall make you say the little 
lesson over and over every day until I have my 
way. It is a good way. Tell me, is it not.?" 
They were approaching the little clearing. "Tell 
me, is it a good way.? " 

" I know to me your way will be a very sweet 
way. I will love to make it mine forever; but for 
the present I must do my own way, even if it may 
be hard for us both." 

He lifted her from the saddle as she spoke. 
"Oh, John, you must not kiss me any more in this 
way, not until I can be your very own, and that 
may not be for a very long — Oh, John ! " 

" I will see your grandfather, and tell him I love 
you. You are mine now, Portia; say you are." 

"I can't say that yet, and you must say nothing 
to grandfather. I am not free to say anything yet 
but that I love you. I am not free to say I am 
yours. I have my work to do ; and John, is it so 
hard? You must wait." 



246 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Not so hard now as it was, sweetheart, now 
that I know you are not to be snatched from me. 
I can wait, but I will be your lover. Now that is 
the way I want your eyes to shine, for me and no 
one else. Look at me again like that. I am afraid 
no longer. You may play backgammon with your 
elderly boarder or ride with your handsomest one 
and sing to them all ; but for me, I will remember 
how you sang for me last evening, before my 
mother came, and how you looked at me just now, 
and "no one of them all will carry so light a heart 
as I. Now_one more k is§..and I will let you go to 
have your own way, sweet. " 



CHAPTER XIX 
MAMMY CL'ISSY'S BURYII^' CLO'ES 

EVERYTHING was quiet about the little cabin. 
Ill one corner of the small enclosed space 
stood two mules with their necks crossed and their 
ears lopped forward. On the rail fence near them, 
basking in the sun, sat tlie boy whose business it 
was to take care of Josephus, with much the same 
expression of sleepy contentment on his face, and 
not far from him, perched on the same rail, and 
watching him with half-closed eyes, sat Mammy 
Clarissa's cat. The sun shone aslant on the peace- 
ful scene, and cast elongated shadows on the bare 
earth of the cabin, the mules, the boy, the cat, and 
the rail fence ; and across the yard stretched the 
immense shadow of a naked pine that towered 
high above the roof, waving at its top a tuft of 
green needles, like a worn old brush for sweeping 
the sky. 

** Poor Joe's corn looks spindling, all choked with 
weeds," said John. " Hello, Jenks, how 's Joe this 
morning? " 

" He ain* no mo* 'n mid'lin'," said the boy, sleepily. 

Old Clarissa stood in the cabin with her back to 
the open door, gazing at a curious motley of clothes 
laid out on the patchwork cover of her best bed. 
She leaned on her stick, and her lips moved as if 
she were talking to them. As the shadows of John 

247 



248 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

and Portia darkened the doorway, she spread out 
her hands as if she would guard them from in- 
truders' eyes, but when she saw who her visitors 
were she brightened, and hobbled toward them with 
elaborate cordiality. 

"Laws, honey, am dat yo'? Howdy, honey, 
howdy, Miss Po'tia. Hu-come yo' heah dis time o' 
day?" 

" How's Joe this morning ?" said John. 

"Joe's po'ly. I 'low he ain' gwine be like he 
uset tu no mo'. Joe he strivin' in he's min' how he 
gwine git fo' tu pay fo' turrer mule. He don' git 
no peace fo' dat frettin' an' strivin'." 

" Oh, he mustn't fret. He '11 come out all right, 
and pay for the other mule too." John's voice was 
cheery with his own hope and gladness. ** I '11 go 
up and see him." He tossed his hat on a chair 
and began climbing the ladder leading to the loft 
above. 

Portia glanced curiously at the strange assortment 
of clothes on the bed. ** What are you doing, 
mammy, making over some dresses?" 

" Naw, Miss Po'tia, dem ar 's my buryin' clo'es." 

''Your what?" 

*' Dem ar 's my buryin' clo'es, but I 'low de Lawd 
ain' nuvvah gwine leab me wah dem." 

" I don't understand what you mean. What are 
they for?" 

'' De clo'es I gwine wah tu de grabe, chile, ef de 
Lawd take de curse off an' 'low me tu die." 

** Why you don't want to die yet, — you are not 
so old. What do you mean by taking the curse 
off? " 



Mammy CFissy's Buryin' Clo'es 249 

'* Laws, Miss Po'tia, I kyan' splain 'bouts dat. 
Dar's de curse ob libbiii', an' dar 's de curse ob dyin', 
an' I reckon de Lawd done sot on me de curse ob 
libbin'. I 'low I ain' nuvvah be 'lowd tu vvah dese 
heah clo'es, nohow." She held up one of the 
dresses made in some strange and obsolete fashion, 
a thin pink lawn, from which the pattern had long 
since been washed away. '* I been layin' dese heah 
by many long yeah. Dis 'n Miss Mann done gib 
me. Dat time de fevah tuk me I 'lowed I 'd git free 
tu wah hit, but I did n' dat time. Den de style 
done change, an' I don* wan' be laid in de grabe in 
ol' aout o' style clo'es nohow. Den dis 'n, Joe he 
went up tu Asheville, an' I gib 'im doUah fo' git de 
cloff, an' dar come 'long lady f'om de No'f wha' 
done tole me haow de style ah, all two-skyrted, wid 
dis heah skyrt hangin' ovah turrer." 

"This looks quite new; haven't you ever worn 
it?" 

** Laws, no, Miss Po'tia, I ain' none o' yo' po' white 
trash tu be buried in ol' aout o' style clo'es, I ain'." 

She began laying the clothes carefully in a pine 
box, with a cover fastened by a padlock, and hung 
with leather hinges, and then shoved it in the farth- 
est corner under the bed. As she raised herself 
from the floor, Portia thought she seemed more 
aged and bent than when she last saw her. She 
apparently forgot Portia's presence and continued 
talking to herself, rocking back and forth In her 
large chair, and staring into the embers. ** Wah 
dem clo'es? Naw, I 'low de Lawd ain' nuvvah leab 
me wah 'em. I reckon he ain' gwine 'low me pass 
nohow. ^ O Lawd, O Lawd ! " 



250 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

*' What is it, Clarissa? " said the girl at last, com- 
passionately. ** Why do you talk so? " 

** Why, honey, chile, I cl'ar done fo'got yo' heah. 
Is yo' had breakfus'? I reckon yo' nigh dyin' fo' 
a taste o' Cl'issy's cookin'." She seemed to 
waken to her old life and vivacity as the idea of 
. hospitality seized her, and, uncovering the coals, 
she threw on some pine knots and hung the kettle. 

" No, no," said Portia, " we are going right away 
as soon as Mr. Marshall comes down. I have more 
linen for you to mend when you are ready for it." 

*' Fotch hit 'long, honey ; I 's right smaht glad tu 
git de wo'k. Now yo' sit an' I '11 hab cup o' coffee 
right smaht. Mist' John, he know ol' Cl'issy's 
coffee good." 

" Oh, don't trouble, please don't." 

** Yas, Miss Po'tia; I 'members right well Mar's 
Gen'l he uset tu say, dar ain' no use libbin' 'daout 
hospitableness." 

She had grown so animated and happy in her 
bustle of preparation that Portia had not the heart 
to stop her, and in an incredibly short space of time 
her little pine table held as tempting a breakfast as 
two hungry mortals could wish, — corn bread, eggs 
and bacon, crisp, sweet, and sputtering hot, and cold 
chicken and coffee. 

** Had your breakfast, Joe?" said John, perceiv- 
ing the odor with the pleasure of a healthy 
appetite. 

" Yas, sah ; mammy she ol' an' crupple, but I 'low 
she wo'th mo' 'n I is now," said Joe, weakly. 

** You 're all right, Joe. You pull yourself together 
and get out of here, and things will look brighter. 



Mammy CFissy's Buryin' Clo'es 251 

Don't fret about your mule ; I '11 see that you get 
work as soon as you are able ; and if those young 
fellows are in a hurry for their money, I '11 loan you 
a bit until you are ready to earn it. All you have 
to do is to haul yourself together, and we '11 have 
work enough to keep you and those precious mules 
busy all the fall and winter too." 

" Mist' John, oh, Mist' John, come right 'long an' 
eat yo' co'n bread while hit hot fo' melt de but- 
tah. Co'n bread col' ain' no good nohow," called 
Mammy Clarissa from the foot of the ladder. 

" Yes, mammy, yes, I come with the greatest 
alacrity. Good-bye, Joe, mind what I tell you, and 
don't get down-hearted. — Why, mammy, this is 
like the times I remember when you used to cook 
me a meal all my own, when I used to pay for some 
fun by being sent off without my dinner." 

" Sholy, honey, sholy. Yo' ain' tasted yo' ol* 
mammy's cookin' fo' nigh on tu fifteen yeah. Ga- 
br'ella done fotch dis buttah, an' I done rose de 
chicken an' aigs my own se'f, an' buy dis bacon 
wid de dollah yo' gib me turrer day. Draw up yo' 
cheer. Miss Po'tia, an' eat. Dis mighty po' far' fo' 
yo', I reckon, but rid'n' 'fo' breakfus' makes young 
folks like yo' is hungry 'nuff tu tu'n co'n bread 'n' 
bacon intu bes' kin' o' high-tone victuals." 

" I wonder what that old woman has on her 
mind," said Portia, as they strolled back to their 
horses through the wildwood tangle. '' She says 
the Lord has laid on her the curse of living." 

*' Oh, her head is stuffed full of superstitions, 
They all are, the negroes." 



252 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" She has some strange ideas about death. Did 
you see those things laid out on the bed? She 
says they are her burying clothes, but that the Lord 
is not going to allow her to wear them. Poor old 
thing ! she did n't seem to wish to talk to me about it. 
I tried to find out what she meant, but she changed 
the subject and began to cook our breakfast." 

" Perhaps she thinks some one has ' tricked ' her, 
as they say. They always lay their misfortunes to 
some such thing." He led Brown Betty out from 
the shade where he had tied her and lifted Portia 
deliberately into the saddle. 

"You need not do that; I can spring up as I 
always do." 

"But it is my privilege now, is it not?" 

"It is sometimes; but John-;-" she stopped 
abruptly. 

"What is the 'but'?" 

" I told you. Your happiness frightens me. It 
is beautiful, but how can it last? Even now I must 
begin asking hard things of you. I must ask you 
not to ride home with me, or not any further than 
the turn in the road, there by the dogwood-trees." 

"Where you sang to nie the very next morning 
after our first meeting? I will turn back at that 
place, and why? " 

" My face will tell tales." She flushed crimson 
at the thought of riding up the walk with him, 
under the scrutiny of her assembled household. 
"They will all be out there on the piazza, wonder- 
ing where on earth I have been." 

" How can I help being happy when your face 
tells tales of your heart, and I know that the story 



Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 253 

is mine? I am not proof against it even if all the 
world guesses." 

" Our love is sacred. I cannot have them prying 
into it. After a while I may get used to it. The 
feeling is so new now, I cannot let any one look into 
my heart." 

John rode close to her, and touching the hand 
hanging down by her side said, " Is it a sweet feel- 
ing, Portia? " 

She lifted her eyes to his and gave him a look he 
never forgot. "Ask your own heart, John; you 
will find the answer there." 

'* One would think that answer should satisfy me, 
but I will ask it over, only to hear you say it again." 

Portia was right. All had breakfasted, and most 
of the guests were lounging about the piazza, dis- 
cussing the weather and indulging in badinage. 
Marguerite sat on the edge of the fountain dabbling 
in the water with Juliet, and talking with Mr. Held, 
who had returned in the early morning from a trip 
over the mountains. All eyes were fixed on Portia 
as she rode up the drive. Mr. Russell came for- 
ward, alert, with beaming face, to assist her from the 
saddle. 

" We have missed you this morning," he said. 

" What a dear horse ! " said Marguerite, petting 
Betty's neck, and feeding her a rose from the bunch 
at her belt. 

" Indeed she is ! You must try her some time," 
said Portia. "Thank you, Mr. Russell. Where is 
Andy? Here, Andy, take the horse, and tell Alex- 
ander I wish to see him in about half an hour. We 
are glad to see you back again, Mr. Held. Have 



2 54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

you just come? Have you breakfasted? You see, 
I ran away this morning." 

''I see." 

**Was your trip successful?" 

"Come and look over my sketches. You shall 
judge for yourself." 

" How delightful ! I must say a word to the 
cook first, however ; one cannot ignore meals even 
for art. Artists themselves are hungry sometimes, I 
am told." 

" Never, Miss Van Ostade, never." 

"Never?" cried Mrs. Barry. "You were not 
here at breakfast, Miss Van Ostade, or he would not 
dare say that. He said he had been starved for a 
week, and ate as if he had been, too." 

** I can't imagine what is keeping John," said Mar- 
guerite; "he was to be here early this morning." 

" Then he surely will," said Portia, guiltily. " Let 
us all go in and look at Mr. Held's sketches. They 
are charming. You will not miss him when you see 
them." 

" He promised to send me a horse, and to ride 
with me. Never mind ; I would much rather look 
at your sketches, Mr. Held, and I shall tell him so, 
too." 

" Thanks, I will try to believe what you say." 

" We have been dying to have those boxes 
opened," said Miss Keller, coming down the steps 
with the young man from New Jersey. " Mr. Held, 
Mr. Vedder." 

" Happy to make your acquaintance, sir. Then 
we will open them immediately. I am always ready 
to save life." 



Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 255 

" Especially when you can charm at the same 
time, Mr. Held?" said Marguerite. 

'* I must inquire after Mrs. Marshall," said Portia 

to her. 

" Oh, she is well. She almost always is. She 
did not come down this morning, but she means to 
drive after a while, I think." 

" I hope she will not find it dull here." 

"No, aunty never is dull. Sometimes she pre- 
tends to be. She should rest now at any rate, for 
she was going all the time in New York." 

** I am sure she never could be dull with you 
always with her ; I need not have asked," said Portia, 
with a smile. '' I shall be back in a moment, Mr. 
Held," and she left them, hurrying to the kitchen. 

** Surre, Miss Porrtia, an' it's an awful leddy yees 
have up shtairs now. The Frinch gurril is comin' 
into me kitchen ivrry blessed minute wid a new 
notion in her head, an' now it 's ' 'Ave yees any ice in 
this howl iv a place?' an' now it's ' Th' eggs is too 
harrd, an' th' eggs is too saft,' an' it's mesilf '11 in- 
vite 'er to cook 'em hersilf next." 

"You mustn't mind, Maggie; no doubt she is 
tired." 

** An' it 's tired she must be wid thinkin' up new 
things fer wantin'." 

"Well, you know it won't do to talk about our 
guests, so we will say nothing, and you must do the 
best you can." 

" There 's a load o' things come down from Ashe- 
ville. Miss Porrtia, an' herr 's the bill o' thim." 

" Oh, I am glad. Hav^e they sent the fruit? Yes, 
here it is. That is one thing off my mind. Bring 



256 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

that Dresden bowl, Maggie, the bkie one." Portia 
began hastily unloading good things from the 
hamper which made weekly trips between Patter- 
son and Asheville to keep the house supplied with 
necessary articles. Semi-occasionally a similar ham- 
per was sent on from New York. 

" You may put away these as I take them out, 
Maggie ; wait until I can check them off. That is 
right." 

Portia's rapid movements soon restored order to 
the old kitchen. The hamper was carried out, 
and she began arranging some of the fresh fruit in 
the dainty Dresden bowl. 

" Call Lucy ; I wish her to take these to Mrs. 
Marshall's room. Bring me some roses, — no, — 
just the buds, Maggie, those are too full-blown. 
Now, isn't it pretty?" 

" It 's yersilf makes ivry thing purrty wid the 
touch av yer ban's," said Maggie, warmly. 

"Ah, Maggie, that's blarney. Don't you re- 
member how I spoiled the cake for you yesterday, 
putting on the frosting? Here, Lucy, take this 
bowl of fruit to Mrs. Marshall's room. Say Miss 
Van Ostade sent it, and don't stay; just hand it in 
and go away." 

The dish did not look quite so pretty when it 
reached Mrs. Marshall, for one or two of the 
great ripe cherries had found their way into Lucy's 
capacious mouth, but it was enough to win gracious 
thanks from the recipient later, when she entered 
the room while all were occupied in looking over 
the sketches. 

" This waterfall is charming," said Portia. '' Where 



1 
Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 257 

did you find such a wonderful spot? Is it near 
here?" 

''It Is only about four miles from Patterson, six 
from here, I should think." 

" So near? We must visit it." 

" Let us all go and make a day of it," sug- 
gested Mrs. Barry. 

"How do you get there," said Mr. Ridgeway; 
" by carriage? " 

" It can be reached in that way — I had my trap, 
you know — but on horseback is much the better 
way. It might be a little rough for ladles, but they 
have done it." 

" Of course we can," cried Marguerite. " I 
mean to go there if I have to go all by myself. 
Were you ever there, Aunt Isabel?" 

" Long ago. But my jaunting days are over. 
You must find some one else to chaperone you on 
such trips." 

" Not at all necessary, Aunt Isabel. I will go 
without one. I am an American girl." 

" I will undertake that duty with pleasure, and I 
warrant Mrs. Marshall it will be well done," said 
Mr. Held. 

"We shall all be glad to chaperone Miss 
McLourie," said Mr. Russell. 

" Oh, that would never do. Some one must stay 
here to chaperone Aunt Isabel." 

" Marguerite ! " 

" You know it is my duty to look after you, 
aunt." 

"When shall we go?" said Mr. Held. 

"The sooner the better," said Mr. Vedder. 
17 



258 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Rightaway — if possible, to-morrow," exclaimed 
Mrs. Barry. 

" Would n't the day after be better? " said Portia. 
** We must have a lunch, you know." 

''That is right, day after to-morrow," cried 
Marguerite ; then, in an aside to her guardian, 
" Where can John be? He was going to send the 
horses this morning." 

John was at that moment prowling over the new 
building, taking note of the work, and dreaming of 
his future. Crossing the road to the station later 
he saw Lord Chesterfield leave his parlors in fault- 
less attire, with a neat black case in his hand. He 
had regular customers at the new boarding-house. 
The world was looking up for him in these days. 

*' Why, Chas, you look quite aristocratic. Where 
are you bound for?" 

" De new bo'din'-haouse, sah. I has a right smaht 
heap o' customers daoun yandah. Da 's de ol' 
genTman wi' de fine long mustaches, — he keep 
he's face shave mighty clean an' young lookin', an' 
da 's de light young gen'l'man come turrer day, an* 
Mist' Held, he done come back 'gin, — I 'low he 
wan' see me 'long baouts dis time." 

" Shave them up well and don't waste your 
money." 

** Naw sah, naw ! I don' waste no money." 
1 No, Chas never wasted money, except on his own 
' precious person. His ruling passion, and the great 
stimulus of life was the accumulation of dollars and 
cents, as much as if he were a full-blooded white 
man and the son of a Wall Street broker. Just 
now he was bent on marrying Gabriella Gunn, 



'^iu. 



Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 259 

because she was industrious and saving, as well as 
good-looking; but still his affections were divided 
between her and a chambermaid in Asheville, 
whose complexion was seven times darker than mid- 
night, w^ho had laid by the magnificent sum of three 
hundred dollars with which she was trying to tempt 
this dashing young cavalier. Now as he walked, 
he weighed in his mind the advantages of each. If 
he took the one of midnight skin, he might buy him 
a fine cart, like the one Mist' John rode about in. 
He would not walk in the dust and heat; but 
would drive to and from his little jobs, an enviable 
spectacle in the eyes of his brethren. Louisa Ann 
and he might have a fine little place near the new 
hotel, where she could add to their pile by doing 
chamber work. Surel}' the plan was good, — but 
as he took his solitary way, swinging his case, and 
mopping his brow with a strongly perfumed silk- 
handkerchief, he saw walking easily along before 
him, with her basket poised on her head, her arms 
akimbo, and her lithe body erect under the load, 
" Miss Gunn," and all the persistence of his most 
persistent nature was roused to conquer her with / 
his oft repeated assurances of undivided love. 

'* Mawnin', Miss Gunn, mawnin' ! " he said, with 
his most flattering smile. Gabriella was inclined to 
be affable this morning, and beamed on him with 
eyes and teeth bewitchingly. They paused in the 
road to pass the time of day, and make elaborate 
inquiries into each other's state of health. This 
seemed a most propitious time, so, as they walked 
on together, Chas drew insinuatingly near, and 
passed his arm about her waist. 



26o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

** Laws naow, quit yo' foolin'," she said, with a 
laugh. '* Haow yo' s'pose I gwine tote yo' an' dis- 
yer co'n meal up de hill? Kyan' yo' tote yo' own 
ahm 'daout hitchin' hit on tu me? Quit! Yo' 
baoun' tu upset dis-yer basket." 

'' Yo' haish ! Did n' I tol' yo' I ain gwine put 
up wid yo' foolin' no longer? Yo' like tu craze me 
wid yo' goin's on. I reckon I '11 be tuk sick 'fo' 
long, I been so trouble' in my min*." 

*' Likely yo' is trouble' in yo' min'." She shrieked 
with laughter, setting down her basket, that she 
might shake herself in her merriment. " I see yo' 
mighty trouble' in yo' min' studyin' haow yo' gwine 
git 'long wid Gabr'ella Gunn one day, an' dat fine 
young lady in Asheville nex'." 

*' Dey ain' no gal in Asheville kin stan' 'long- 
side Gabr'ella Gunn." 

" Naw, likely not. I hyeared yo' co'tin', yandah 
in Asheville. I done hyeared yo' co'tin' Louisa Ann 
Williams, ol' Bija's gal. She tu pu'ty tu stan' 'long- 
side whar I stan'. I 's seed her heap o' times." 

'* Look a-heah, Gabr'ella, I been so hu'ted in my 
min' wid yo' foolin' I jes* tryin' tu like nudder gal, 
but I sw'ar I kyan' du hit nohaow, I 's dat fool gone 
on yo', Gabr'ella, an' heah yo' smile one day, an' 
chide de nex'." 

" Yandah comes Mist' Ridgeway's cahiage. Is 
yo' seed ol' missus? Nance say as haow she 
come back 'gin. Nance say as haow Alexandah 
wife, she say Alek, he mos' knock aout de las' toof 
in he's haid, he so s'prised, an' he's teef knock to- 
gedder like he see a ghos', dat time she come 'long- 
side de cahiage like she step aout'n de grabe." 



Mammy Cl'issy's Buryin' Clo'es 261 

** I seed her git off'n de kyar las' ebenin', but I 
'low she nuvah knowed who I war. I nuvah let on 
like I seed 'er. I spec' she hate de berry sight o' 
we-all, sence she kyan' call we her cattle, an' set de 
ovahseah on us like she uset tu no mo'. I kin 
'membah right well dat time I peek t'roo de shed 
doah, an' I seed her stannin' dar an' de ovahseah, 
an' ol' Kate cryin' in de kitchin. OF Kate she 
say, * Run 'nd peek, chile, quick; I 'low dey '11 kill 
Cl'issy,' an' I peek, an' dar lie Cl'issy, an' ol' missus 
lookin' on, an' de ovahseah lay on de lash like he 
nuvah gwine leab a speck o' skin on her back." 
Chas paused to look after the carriage as it rolled 
past, then continued, " I seed mo' 'n dat tu, oncet. 
Dat time Mars'r war in Wash'nton, an* missus she 
run de place. She run hit right ha'd tu w'en she 
run hit, a smilin' one day, an' a lickin' de nex'." 

They had come to the turn where their roads lay 
in different directions, and now they proceeded to 
take as elaborate a leave of one another as if they 
were not to meet again for months. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE BLIND WOMAN'S VISIT 

MA," said Miss Katherine, a few days after 
Mrs. Marshall's arrival, '' ought we not to 
call on John's mothah? Shall we go to-day?" 
The old lady turned her sightless eyes on her 
daughter a moment, but said nothing. *' I know, 
ma, we can't do like we used tue, but ouh family is 
as good as hers, if we ah poor, and the ride will do 
you good. We have n't made a call together foh 
an age." 

"It is n't that there is any question of family be- 
tween us ; there never was ; but you know I can't see 
her now, and I don't care to have her pitying me, 
— but there, Katherine, you are right, we would 
better go." She was silent a moment, lost in thought, 
then spoke again. *' Mrs. Marshall never was one 
to look up to any one else, but- as far as family 
goes, she might have looked up to your father." 

Katherine sat in a low chair with her lap full of 
roses, arranging them in a row of vases before her, 
and snipping off the thorns and imperfect ones as 
she talked. They were seated in the shade of vines, 
in one corner of the broad piazza that ran jft-ound 
three sides of the house. Mrs. Wells swayed slowly 
back and forth in a rocker and fanned herself with 
a palm-leaf fan. 

262 



The Blind Woman's Visit 263 

" Of coa'se I know pa's family was of the very 
best in this country, where there is no real aristoc- 
racy, and so was youas, mothah, foh that mattah, 
but there it is, she is as rich as evah they were, 
while we, — where ah we? How comes it that the 
wall used us-all up, and left her as rich as evah, o' 
richer? " 

** It's no North Carolina property she 's living on 
now, daughter. I reckon there in Cuba, while we 
were losing, they were making hand over fist. 
Her father was never one to lose a good chance, 
and she has the thrift of the whole family condensed 
in one for saving. I well remember when the Gen- 
eral was all taken up with his political duties, she 
managed that place better than ever he did, — she 
got more out of the niggers than ever he did, for 
one thing." 

" I always thought the Yankees were the ones for 
making money, — she 's no Yankee." 

" No, but she 's from one of those rich old Spanish 
families, and I 'm thinking there never was a na- 
tion that cared more for gold. The old General was 
free-handed and open-hearted, but she was close both 
ways, and yet she was lavish too, in a way." Mrs. 
Wells swayed thoughtfully a moment in her rocker, 
and Miss Katherine snipped at her roses ; then her 
mother resumed the thread of her talk. " She 
would do some big, generous thing when she felt 
like it, but she knew how to hold her own as well 
as any one I ever saw ; but then, we were always 
good friends. Yes, of course we must call, and 
that right soon." 

" I think there's someone coming. I see dust ris- 



264 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

ing ovah the rise in the road, — suah enough, it's 
John and Miss McLourie ! " 

The young people were upon them before Miss 
Katherine could shake the rose-leaves from her lap. 
Some one else was with them. It was the artist. 
As they drew rein before the long piazza, he it was 
who assisted Marguerite from the saddle. Happy 
little Marguerite ! she needed only the glow which 
the exercise brought into her cheeks to make her 
startlingly beautiful. 

" Do go on with your flowers," said Marguerite 
after the introductions were over. *' You don't know 
how pretty you looked seated among these vines 
with your lap full of roses. Did n't she, John? Let 
me help you." 

*' Help me look pretty? Indeed you can do that 
very easily, — sit right beside me." The two gentle- 
men laughed. Marguerite laughed too, but did as 
she was bid. 

" Come here, child," said Mrs. Wells. " You 
know I cannot see you, and I wish to know if you 
are like your mother. I used to know your beauti- 
ful mother." 

" Miss McLourie is a young lady, ma, she is not a 
child." 

Marguerite obediently went over, and knelt down 
by her chair, while the old lady lightly touched her 
hair, her cheeks and forehead, and chin, and throat 
and hands. 

" Yes," she said at last, " you are like your mother, 
and I have looked into your eyes when you were a 
little dimpled baby, and held you in my arms in your 
long white dresses. You were such a peaceful baby." 



The Blind Woman's Visit 265 

'* What a change you have undergone, Mar- 
guerite," said John, teasingly. 

'* No wonder ! if you had held me I would have 
screamed and kicked." As she turned to pout at 
John, she caught the look of open-eyed admiration 
on the face of the artist, which he was unconscious 
of showing, it being merely the scientific admiration 
to which he thought his art entitled him. 

Marguerite comprehended, and a gleam of resent- 
ment flashed into her eyes, as she thought, " I '11 
teach him to look at me as if I were some old ruin, 
or something to put in one of his old pictures," but 
she only turned toward Miss Katherine with a smile. 

** We are all going on an excursion to the love- 
liest place ; Mr. Held found it. And we want you 
to join us. Miss Van Ostade sent us, or rather was 
coming herself, and we said we would bring it — the 
invitation — for her." 

" As well as for ourselves," said John. 

" Of course, and you will go, will you not?" 

Katherine looked at her mother, and the blind 
woman, divining as if she could see, responded to 
the look. " Yes, Katherine, Gertrude can do all I 
wish. Of course she will go, it will do her good." 

"But motheh — " 

*' Don't stop to think of any * buts.' " 

"No, don't," said John. 

" How long must I be away ? " 

" Only two days ; one to go, one night there and 
one day to return." 

*' Oh, neveh ! " Katherine was appalled. " Why, I 
have n't been away from ma foh ten yeahs." She 
rose in a flutter and brushed the lose-leaves frorp 



266 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

her dress. ** I cannot. Theah 's only Gertrude 
heah, and Gabe, — but he's no good." 

Mr. Held eyed her critically. *' She would make a 
fine study," he thought, " and the old lady too, just 
as they are." 

" Where do you go? " asked the mother. 

** It 's up at a place they call Hibbard's Lodge. 
I know the man who built it. He lives in Washing- 
ton, and goes up there once a year. The rest of the 
time an old man and his wife keep the place and 
make what they can from the few travellers who 
come that way. The only trouble is, you have to 
take what provision you need along with you, for 
the old couple never keep much on hand, — but 
it 's all very neat, and well kept." 

" Is that the way you did?" asked Marguerite, 
roguishly. 

'* No, I lived on scenery and paint." 

" Well, what word shall we take to Miss Van 
Ostade? " said John. 

" Come," said Marguerite, drawing Katherine 
after her, ** don't say no, until wc talk it all over. 
Let us go in here while they visit." 

Katherine yielded to the gentle pull, and so once 
more the little witch had her way, and in five min- 
utes had made a resting-place for herself in Miss 
Katherine's heart. They returned the best of old 
friends, because, as Marguerite explained to Kath- 
erine, ** You see, your mother knew my mother, 
even before she was married, and held me in her 
arms when I was a tiny little baby, so it seems we 
have always been friends, does it not?" A fact 
which the child had learned for the first time a few 



The Blind Woman's Visit 267 

moments before as she knelt by the bHnd woman's 
chair; but how should Katherine know it, had it not 
been told over and over again by Aunt Isabel, and so 
she loved them both the better for the thought, and 
no harm was done by the innocent deception, which, 
to do Marguerite justice, was not intended as such. 

^' Yes, John, she will go," said Marguerite, trium- 
phantly, '* and now we must settle about time and 
everything." 

'* And I must think about ma tue, she can't stay 
all alone with that Gertrude." 

" Now, daughter," — said the mother, and there 
was more debating, until the matter was settled to 
Miss Katherine's mind. John would ride over and 
ask Mrs. Chaplain to spend the time of Katherine's 
absence with her mother. " Yes, that would do," 
and: "She would surely go?" "Yes, surely." 
Then the three visitors rode away satisfied, and 
Katherine watched them out of sight with beating 
heart. She was really to have an outing of the old- 
fashioned kind ! The old times were coming back, 
and people were beginning to live once more. 

" John and I will ride over again as soon as all 
the arrangements are made," Marguerite called 
back, with a glance that made Mr. Held envious of 
John for a moment. Ah, she was already begin- 
ning to play her little tunes on the sensitive harp of 
his artistic nature ! They rode on ahead in the nar- 
row road, laughing and chatting, while John, ab- 
sorbed in his own hopes and plans, took his way in 
the rear, dreaming and thinking. 

That afternoon Katherine drove her mother over 
to the boarding-house, in the obsolete vehicle which 



268 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

still remained of their former grandeur, and with the 
old brown pony. The call was made in as great state 
as was in their power. Mrs. Marshall was peculiarly 
gracious that afternoon. She shed tears as they 
talked over the past, and condoled with her old 
friend on her blindness. 

" But you are not much worse off than the rest of 
us," she said at last. *' You are spared the pain we 
have to endure of seeing such dismal changes. You 
can think of it all as it used to be, without the dread- 
ful truth being forced on you continually that the 
South has been defrauded, ruined, by the vilest in- 
justice." Her laces trembled around her face and 
throat, as she raised herself, and sat erect among the 
cushions that had been heaped around her. ''Think 
what I must feel, here in the house that used to be 
mine, surrounded by these Northern women, who 
have come here to make money from our mis- 
fortunes. I wish I could n't see them, I 'm sure." 

" Why, aunt, you had money enough. Why did 
you sell the place if you cared so much for it? You 
could have kept it." 

"Kept it? What should I have kept it for? 
Robbed of my rights, robbed of my servants, 
robbed of my husband, — kept it indeed ! I only 
wish we had the war to fight over again, and that 
all the soldiers might be women." 

Miss Katherine sat silent, with her hands folded 
in her lap. " Well," said her mother at length, *' the 
past is past, and war is terrible at best. I would not 
wish to go through it again." 

" No, not with your calm disposition, but mine 
was different. If we had had an army of women 



The Blind Woman's Visit 269 

with my spirit, we would never have given up until 
the ground all over the South was saturated with 
our blood." 

"I believe you, aunt: you would have made a 
splendid general ; but I would not have been one to 
saturate the ground with my blood, I can tell you 
that. Ugh ! What a thought it is ! What if Miss 
Van Ostade should hear you ! " 

" She will hear it soon enough, if I stay here, — 
palavering hussy. She will bear watching. I have 
my eye on her." 

*' Why, aunty, what do you mean? " 

** Marguerite, you are a child. Why did I come 
to this horrid place at all?" 

"To please me, aunt, of course, and it's lucky I 
am a child, for if I had been born when you were, 
you would never have had the pleasure of taking 
care of me, and I could never have called you 
aunt." 

** The past is past, as you say," said Mrs. Marshall, 
ignoring this sally, and settling herself back among 
the cushions. *' But we can't forget, though we may 
suffer." 

Marguerite laughed merrily. " How you must 
suffer, aunt, lying in that chair among Miss Van 
Ostade's cushions." 

** And what a tease you must be," said Miss 
Katherine, gayly. 

" I never mind her. She is thoroughly spoiled," 
said Mrs. Marshall, languidly. 

*' That 's so, aunty dear, and who could have done 
it? Come, Miss Katherine, — I call you that be- 
cause John does, you know, — come out and swing 



270 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

in the hammock while aunt lugubriates. She enjoys 
it. Clare will call us when Mrs. Wells wishes you." 

So they went out and swung under the trees for 
an hour while the older ladies reviewed their past, 
and as they chatted and swung, Miss Katherine felt 
herself growing younger, and the younger maid, 
playing so successfully on the heartstrings of the 
elder, felt her own being stirred with a loving im- 
pulse, and, leaning over, took the fine sweet face 
of Miss Katherine in her two hands and kissed it. 

" There, I have been wanting to do that, and now 
I have done it," she said. 

Miss Katherine flushed with pleasure, and drew 
the siren close to her side. " Here comes Clare," 
said Marguerite; "we must go in." 

Two men, her lover and the artist, had emerged 
from the thicket of wild shrubbery that skirted the 
edge of the woods encircling the homestead on 
three sides. They both saw this little episode, and 
each took note of it in his own way. 

** Mrs. Marshall and her ward are most charming," 
said Mr. Held. ** A great acquisition to our small 
coterie here " 

" They are indeed, especiall}^ the ward, don't you 
think?" 

" Certainly, that goes without saying. Shall we 
join these ladies? " 

'' As you like, I must leave you here." 

So Hanford passed on, merely lifting his hat, 
leaving the artist to follow at the leisure of the 
ladies. Marguerite was a trifle piqued, but she 
kept up her merry chatter, and the glance of her 
dark eyes toward his retreating figure was unnoticed 



The Blind Woman's Visit 271 

by her companions. As they neared the house, 
Portia came out to meet them. She began cordially 
urging Miss Katherine to stay through the evening. 

" You should not make a formal call on such old 
friends," she said. ^' I am sure — " 

" Indeed they must not," interrupted Marguerite. 
"Just wait, I will ask Mrs. Wells," and she followed 
Clare up the stair. 

But Katherine was thinking of the long drive 
home in the dark, and of John, with only the small 
Gertrude to attend to his evening meal. " Oh, I 
can't stay," she said. 

" Andy can take your horse back now, and Alex- 
ander will drive you home in the evening," said Por- 
tia, divining her thoughts, " and we will send for Mr. 
Marshall to dine here; he will enjoy being with his 
mother, I am sure." 

Still Katherine hesitated. She must return these 
courtesies if she accepted them, and how could she? 
No, she must not stay. Then Marguerite returned, 
saying Mrs. Wells would stay if Katherine thought 
best, and then, just in time to turn the scale in favor 
of the delay, John came galloping up the drive, and 
throwing the reins to Andy, hurried up the steps 
with the freedom of which he gladly availed himself 
since his mother's arrival. His buoyant, happy, al- 
most triumphant bearing seemed to change the 
aspect of everything. Portia appealed to him. 
Would n't he persuade his friend and her mother to 
remain? Ah, wouldn't he though! And remain 
they did, and dined at the new boarding-house, al- 
though they would have been terrified that morning 
at the thought of doing so. 



272 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Mrs. Marshall seldom appeared with the other 
guests, until they gathered in the dining-room in 
the evening, and then she was always closely at- 
tended by the French maid, bearing her cushions, 
her fan, and lace shawls, and mysterious black bag. 
She never spoke to one of the servants, but made all 
her wants known to Clare, who in turn repeated 
them to the waitress. John never had known her 
to be quite so formal. Influenced by her presence, 
the other guests unconsciously assumed an air of 
dignity and distance, at once elegant and oppressive. 

Portia felt that the easy geniality hitherto pervad- 
ing her household, was gone. She would not allow 
herself to be daunted, however, but went about among 
them, with their many whims and smallnesses, regu- 
lating affairs in the gentle way that won every one, 
yet holding her head like the queen she was, com- 
plete mistress of herself and of her household. John 
watched her moving about, speaking to each with 
gracious care, and again as she served coffee at the 
little table, with the light from the tall lamp playing 
over her hair, and the dear small Juliet at her elbow, 
and to him her presence was the all-pervading one 
— the only presence in that great old room, where 
in childhood he had hidden himself away, and 
watched lovely ladies in glistening foreign silks, 
rustling and fanning and chattering about him. 
Portia, in simple white, with a touch of lilac tulle at 
her throat and wrists, her graceful head a-tilt over 
the cups and saucers, seemed to him the epitome 
of all the grace and beauty, the graciousness and 
queenliness, the gentleness and femininity that the 
great old drawing-room had ever held in its heart in 



The Blind Woman's Visit 273 

all the hundred years of its existence. Ah, it was a 
proud little head, but had it not rested on his 
bosom? and the soft tint in her cheeks, had he not 
seen it deepen for him? So it was he of all the 
guests who was at that moment consciously and 
supremely happy. 

Marguerite drew a hassock to Mrs. Wells' feet. 
" I will sit here," she said, *' where you can touch me 
if you wish for anything. I am glad you stayed, 
for now you can hear Miss Van Ostade sing. Oh, she 
sings charmingly, and they have other music also." 

** And you, too, sing charmingly, T have no doubt." 

''Ah, not as she does, do I, Aunt Isabel? " 

*' She certainly sings well for one who has had no 
advantages, — has never been abroad, you know." 

*' She has been abroad, mother," said John, bend- 
ing over her chair, and speaking in a low tone. " It 
was in Germany that I first saw her, and she got her 
pronunciation of Italian in Italy." 

" You first saw her in Germany ! " exclaimed 
Mrs. Marshal], sharply. 

Portia could not help hearing the words and 
guessing their import. She was trying to extin- 
guish the flame of the lamp under the shining urn 
at her side, and an awkward movement of her hand 
caused her to drop the cover and burn her fingers. 

Hanford Clark stepped quickly forward and pick- 
ing up the little brass disk placed it over the blaze. 
" Let me take these cups for you," he said. ** Mrs. 
Wells has none; shall I take them? Ah ! you have 
burned yourself." 

" It is nothing," she bit her lip in her vexation, 
" only my awkwardness." 
18 



274 When the Gates Lift Up then- Heads 

Armed with his errand, he took himself to Mar- 
guerite's side. " Won't you introduce me to your 
friend? " he said. 

" Gladly. Have n't you met her in all the time 
you have been here? Mrs. Wells, this is Mr. Clark, 
— John's friend, you know. He has brought your 
coffee." 

** John's friend? Then I should know him," she 
held out her hand, and he placed the cup in it. 
*"' No, it is your hand I want. I am blind, and it 
is only by the touch of your hand and the sound 
of your voice that I may know you," she said 
pleasantly. 

" Then you are spared all unpleasant sights," he 
said. He drew a chair near, and began conversing 
quietly. Presently he turned to Marguerite, *' That 
was kind of you to introduce me as John's friend." 
He spoke in an undertone, during the confused buzz 
of general conversation about them. 

** Have you met her daughter? She is talking to 
Mr. Russell. Is n't she like an old picture, the way 
she dresses her hair?" 

" Charming." 

" Then, why did you go right by us there in the 
garden, if you think so? Mr. Held did not, and he 
had less reason for stopping than you, — not being 
so old an acquaintance, I mean." 

** Sometimes the newest acquaintances are the 
most agreeable." 

" Of course, sometimes. Was that why you passed ^ 
me by? " 

*' Marguerite, are you going to tantalize me into 
doing what I promised you I would not?" 



The Blind Woman's Visit 275 

** Oh," whispered Marguerite, " the pretty blond 
plays the cornet," she looked toward the piano 
where Mr. Vedder stood with a French horn in his 
hand, and Mrs. Clare was turning her music. 

Portia escaped from the room, and leaned against 
one of the pillars of the verandah. Her hand 
smarted with the burn, and her heart with the sting 
of that sentence which she had heard, and the tone 
of displeased surprise, and almost of contempt which 
it seemed to contain for her. " Oh, if she would 
only go away ! " she thought. " She hates me, and 
she always will. She is cruel, wicked, to hate me 
for what I could not help." Then she bethought 
that Mrs. Marshall could not know of her precious 
secret yet, and she was unjust. Yes, she would keep 
on trying to win her, but she was sick of all the dis- 
tasteful life she was leading. She felt that she 
ought to go back and talk to Miss Katherine, and 
say pleasant things to a little lady who had but just 
arrived, but how could she go about saying aft'able 
things in this mood, and with the consciousness of 
those critical eyes on her, — that languid, watchful 
look, that seemed to be indifferent, yet was so cat- 
like and intent after all. She heard the wheeze of 
the cornet, struggling with one of her songs, and 
she pulled impatiently at the jasmine \-ine, crushing 
the flowers in her hands. She heard a step near, 
but did not move. She hoped it might be John, 
but it was not. 

"Ah, you are in hiding, I see. I missed you from 
the circle in there. When you go, the soul of the 
place is gone, and I always escape myself." 

Portia started at the sound of the voice, and, turn- 



276 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

ing sharply, looked, with an almost pitiful expression 
of entreaty, into the face of her silver-haired lover. 
The look was a silent entreaty from her heart to be 
let alone, but his interpretation of it was different. 
" You are weary. No wonder you hide." 

*' Indeed, no. I am only enjoying the fresh air." 

"Let me fetch you a chair, and enjoy it also." 
He placed two chairs just beyond the light which 
streamed from the window. " Now, this is charm- 
ing, to sit here and listen to the music," he rubbed 
his hands together with hearty satisfaction. 

" He plays oft" the key," she said with a little ner- 
vous laugh. 

" Yes, yes. A sensitive ear must suffer. There is 
where we coarser organizations have a certain ad- 
vantage. Now to me that music is agreeable, but I 
see its defects, of course. When I judge of music, 
I can judge truly." He added hastily, "I would not 
have you to think I judge of your music as I do of 
this, for instance. No, no. That is different entirely." 
The lamp inside was moved at this moment, and the 
rays fell on his beautiful hair, and illumined his face. 
" Now yours is music. Oh, the pity of it, th^t you 
should be shut up here with your talent, your 
genius, and only selfish people get the benefit of it ! 
You should sing for the whole world. You should 
go abroad, and then come home and bring the world 
to your feet. You should — " 

'' Oh, Mr. Russell, it is like hearing a romance, 
but I must not dream of such things, nor even listen 
to you. At this very minute I ought to be looking 
after the comfort of my guests. To sit here chatting 
does not fit my position." She rose to go. 



The Blind Woman's Visit 277 

" Your position go hang," he said with vehemence. 
*' This is not your position, — I beg pardon, but you 
should be in a position I have in mind for you, — 
one that is fitted for you. This is all — " 

Portia sank back trembling into the chair, without 
strength to move. What could she do? How could 
she stop him? She must, — but he went on. 

" That is right. This is not your position, it is 
all wrong. Miss Van Ostade, I have sought this op- 
portunity for weeks. Sometimes I almost thought 
you avoided me, but that it stood to reason you 
could not give all your time to an old man, when 
there are so many younger claimants." 

"Oh, Mr. Russell, it was never your age, never," 
she paused. Was it possible that in her endeavor to 
be kind, she had not made the true reason of her 
avoidance clear to him? 

"I understand; no, no. Certainly not; and I 
am not so old, neither. My heart is young as any 
man's. Miss Van Ostade, my heart is at your feet. 
I can make possible all the dreams I have laid 
before you and more. Let me make you mistress 
of my home, and place my fortune in your hands. 
There is no one to dispute your right. Miss Van 
Ostade, I can command my millions, yet without 
you they are worthless to me. Just let me enumerate 
to you — " 

" I can't listen to you ; I must not. I was out 
of my senses to sit here and let you talk to me 
hke this." 

" Just a word, a word ; I am not so old as my 
white hair would indicate, — as you may think, — and 
I bring you a cleaner record and a purer heart than 



278 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

many a younger man. Let me urge you. Think 
of all I might be able to do for your happiness, for 
your most charming mother. While now you have 
cares without number, all would be lifted from you, 
and your path be strewn with roses. We would 
travel, and revel in the wonders of the old world, 
and your mother would grow young again, — so also 
would your grandfather. I realize his worth. I feel 
what you in your pride would say to this ; but is it 
right, is it reasonable that you should throw away 
their happiness as well as mine, by a refusal?" 

" Mr. Russell, I am not to be bought and sold," 
she said, rising to her feet, and looking at him as 
she had not dared before. Noting the pain in his 
face, instantly her pride and resentment changed to 
a feeling of gratitude and genuine sorrow. " For- 
give me for those words ; they were too harsh." 
She seated herself, and leaning on the arm of her 
chair brought her face nearer his. *' You deserve 
a different answer. Will you be satisfied if I give 
you a glimpse into my heart? It is but fair, since 
I have allowed you to say this to me. I cannot give 
you what only a true woman should give to the man 
she would marry. You are too good a man to be 
so treated, or to wish me anything but happiness. 
I cannot give you my heart; it is not mine. I love 
some one else very deeply. This is a confidence 
which now you alone of all the world have. Even 
my mother, I have kept it from her. You will 
understand now why I should avoid you ; it is not 
your age, it is not yourself, believe me. It is, it — 
Oh, why should this be? Why should you care so 
much? There are lovely women who are famishing 



The Blind Woman's Visit 279 

for just such true love as you have laid at my feet. 
Why should such treasure be offered me (I am not 
worthy of it), and they be denied? " 

The old man made no answer. He sat with his 
head bowed in his hands, stunned. He had not 
thought a refusal possible. He had passed the last 
few weeks in one long dream of happiness, and 
now the shock seemed rude indeed. At last Portia 
could not bear the silence and spoke again, trying 
to make her refusal seem more gracious. 

'* I could have given you all you ask, if it were 
not for this greater love, believe me, I could. There 
are many more worthy than I ; won't you give to 
some one else the treasure I mast not have, and 
so bring blessedness to yourself as well as to 
another? " 

** Miss Van Ostade, there is but one woman in 
the world for me." He rose, took her hand in his ^ .a.*^/^«< 
f for a moment, and then bending low over it kissed it. <}• ^^^ '^ 



** Pardon me," he said, and turning abruptly left L 
her. , -^ ^ 



f 



CHAPTER XXI 
MARGUERITE SETS THE FASHION 

AS the season wore along, guests flocked to the 
old home from the far South, while a few of the 
Northern boarders remained the summer through; 
and it was not long before Portia could count 
among the inmates of the house individuals who 
had gathered from the four quarters of the globe. 
The air of reserve and criticism which had entered 
the place with the advent of Mrs. Marshall soon 
passed. It had swept through the little gathering 
like a contagious disease, worn itself out, and was 
gone, before the more oblivious of the guests knew 
it had been among them. Although protesting 
she had never been so wretchedly situated in her 
life, Mrs. Marshall settled herself for the summer 
in the pleasant rooms which had been prepared 
especially for her comfort. 

*'It is more the service than it is the rooms," she 
complained to John one day as he waited at her 
door, lingering until he should hear Portia's step in 
the hall below, for the sake of a touch of her hand 
as he passed out. He seldom could get a word 
with her these busy days. 

'* The service ! Why, I have seen Miss Van 
Ostade bringing you things with her own hands." 

His mother laughed. " You seem to think that the 
greatest honor that could happen to any one. It 

280 



Marguerite Sets the Fashion 281 

only shows she is no lady. She should send a maid. 
It would be far pleasanter for me, I am sure." 

''Well, there's no accounting for tastes," he said 
with a shrug. 

" So I think, at least for yours." 

" I must go," he said hurriedly. He thought he 
heard Portia's step in the lower hall. " I have a man 
on to decorate the grand salon at the hotel to-day, 
so I may not be in again. He is a wonder at the 
work ; you must try to drive over and see it. 
Good-bye." 

He found Portia at the far end of the piazza 
trying to put up a hammock that had been broken 
down the night before. 

" Good-morning, good-morning. What are you 
frying to do?" he said cheerily, taking the hammer 
from her hand. '* Now, where do you wish this 
put? Here where it was before? Why you can't 
do it with this; you need an auger and bit." 

'' Yes, I see I do. Never mind ; I will wait until 
grandfather comes." The wail of his violin floated 
down to them from an upper window. She pushed 
the hammock from her with a little sigh. She was 
tired that morning in brain and body. She did not 
glance up, for she felt his eyes on her and knew the 
wistful look in them. " I did not know you were 
here," she said, standing a little apart and slowly 
winding her handkerchief about her hand. He 
pulled it gently off and disclosed a great red bruise 
across her fingers, and his heart was touched. His 
mother's bitter words still rung in his ears. *' She 
shows she is no lady by doing such things; " and 
their injustice and cruelty stung him. He flung the 



282 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

hammer over the piazza raihng and seized her hands 
almost savagely. 

" Portia, these are mine ; you are mine. You 
shall not be doing these things when I am here to 
prevent. I say these hands are mine, and all this 
work must stop. It is cruel." She grew white to 
the lips, and tried weakly to pull her hands away. 
He raised the bruised fingers and kissed them. 
" Say it shall stop," he said tenderly. 

*' Oh, John, I can't. I see no way to stop. 
I must keep on, perhaps for years. There is no one 
else for them to depend on, and they must not know 
of this ; I must keep on if it kills me, and you — " 
She bit her lip to keep back the tears and regain 
self-control. 

** And I ? " He bent over her, looking into her 
eyes, but she kept them fixed on the distant hills, 
and tried again to release her hands. 

" I cannot ask you to wait for me ; it is too much. 
Oh, John, let everything be as it was, — as if — it 
never had happened." 

''As if what never had happened?" 

** Oh, you know. Don't look at me. Let me 
have my hands to cover my face." 

" Portia, tell me what has happened." She was 
silent. All the world was silent. No flutter of a 
leaf, nor twitter of a bird, — only the distant plaint 
of her grandfather's violin, as if to keep her in 
mind of her obligations. The earth slept in the 
warm morning sun. His mother, reclining on her 
couch with the shades drawn, was slowly fanning 
herself and listening to Clare reading aloud, a 
French novel, in her native tongue. 



Marguerite Sets the Fashion 283 

" Tell me, Portia," he said again exultantly, " what 
has happened? I want to hear it from your lips, 
over and over, or sing it to me. It is fit for music, 
— our hearts are full of it. Come, or I will kiss you 
again as I did that morning." 

Portia gave a half-frightened look around. '* No, 
no, John; give me back my hands. Some one — 
your mother's maid might be — might see you. I 
seem to feel her eyes on me all the time lately, 
wherever I am." 

" They are making you miserable with their 
. whims. They shall not stay here, if I have to leave 
the place myself. This is downright deviltry. 
I'll—" 

'* No, no ; if I cannot win her, I am not worthy 
of you. She cannot help her prejudices, and — 
well — if you were to tell her now what you have 
done, without giving me time to overcome them, 
she will never forgive you, and there will be an end." 

" Portia ! Let my mother come between you and 
me? Never. She has not controlled my life in the 
past; why should she now?" 

The cat lay on the railing, with her forepaws 
curled in, sleepily blinking at them. Portia turned 
away from her lover and gently stroked pussy's fur, 
and laid her flushed cheek against it before she 
replied. She could not understand how one so warm- 
hearted and impulsive could stand in such relations 
to his mother, and it troubled her. 

** But she is your mother, and you love her, and 
she is so frail. If this would make her miserable, 
we never could build up our happiness on such a. 
foundation." 



284 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"You are an angel, and ordinary mortals cannot 
keep up with you. But, Portia, I can't look at this 
as you would have me. I tell you no one is going 
to be made miserable unless it be you and I, if I 
should listen to you. When the summer is over, 
if mother is — if you have not succeeded, my beau- 
tiful, promise me that no earthly thing or being 
shall stand between us. Promise me ! " 

*' John, I do love you, oh, I do. Is n't that 
enough — till then?" 

** Give me the promise too, quick ! " he said, 
seizing the hands she impulsively held out to him. 
" Some one is coming over the hill yonder, — some 
of your precious boarders riding back. Listen. 
There is no one on earth who can come between 
you and me. You must not think I do not love my 
mother, — I do ; but she shall not come between us ; 
and as for your own, if you are happy, they will be. 
You think they have no one to turn to who w^ould 
care for them so lovingly? That is because you 
do not half believe in me, Portia. Don't look at 
that cloud of dyst; look in my eyes and see how I 
lovG you." H^f/t^^^-'^ 'UjU ..y C^O ij 

" I believe in you as I believe in my own soul, 
John. It is not that. I can give myself to you, but 
not them. I must keep right on doing my work — 
for a time at least." 

" I will not torment your conscience any more, 
sweetheart. Go on doing your work in your own 
brave way, but, hark, when the summer is over, 
before another year is begun, I am going to marry 
you, love, in this house where I was born. If 
rnother becomes reconciled, well and good; if not, 



Marguerite Sets the Fashion 285 

she may go to — Cuba, as she usually does, and 
leave me to my own way. My will is as strong 
as hers, and you are the sweetest woman in the 
world, and you are mine. There ! kiss me. You 
can't help yourself. They are coming now. 
Good-bye." 

As he rode rapidly away, he saw Clare throw 
open the blind of his mother's wide French window, 
opening onto the upper gallery of the piazza. She 
stepped quietly out, and leaning over the railing 
looked down on Portia, standing among the honey- 
suckle vines in her simple white dress, and saw her 
blow a kiss at him, lifting the bruised hand to her 
lips, — the hai;iL-li£-iiad -kissed. He returned the 
gentle salute, and then. with a backward glance at 
the m^^above rode on. A moment later, the 
guests whom they had watched a few minutes before 
turning a distant curve, came galloping up the drive, 
and Clare re-entered her mistress's room. 

*'Who rode away just now?" said Mrs. Marshall. 

" Ce votre his, madam.' 

"Was he alone?" 

The maid lifted her shoulders. "Je suppose, 
madam ; he rode le seul." >,^ 

"Yes, yes. But — he must have waited for some 
reason; was there no one below? " 

" Oh, oui. Je pense, de mees, que, keeps dis 
place, la." * - -.- *" 

" The hussy ! Where was she? " 

" EUe caress'Te chat, — le pussee." Through the 
feminine instinct of helping on a love affair, and 
partly through natural kindness of heart, Clare pur- 
posed to give only as much information as would 






286 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

satisfy her mistress, and kept her lips discreetly 
closed on the rest. Moreover, she felt that John 
Marshall fully comprehended the situation and 
knew she had been sent to look just when she did, 
and she would not be compromised in his eyes. 
She would be able to defend herself, should he 
speak of it. 

** I will go down, Clare ; bring me the loose gown 
with the lace. No, not that one ; the white with 
black lace. It is too warm for anything else." 

Marguerite came bounding into the little sitting- 
room bc3'ond and threw herself upon the couch in 
her habit. "Oh, it is so warm! " she said, fanning 
her flushed face. 

** Then why do you ride in such heat? " 
" Oh, but we had a glorious time. Mr. Held is 
just handsome on horseback. He looks better than 
he does off, like Napoleon. If he were only a little 
taller, he would be handsome, anyway." 

**John was in asking for you. He seemed sur- 
prised that I should allow you to go off in this way 
with any one you happen to pick up at a boarding- 
house. Why don't you go with him ever, these 
days?" 

** Why don't I? How can I? He is so taken up 
with his old hotel. He would better look after him- 
self a little, I think." She bit her lip and glanced 
quickly at her aunt and then at the maid, who was 
standing behind her gently brushing the long gray 
hair, still plentifully sprinkled with black. Clare, 
answering the glance, lightly touched her closed lips 
with her finger. Ah, quick-tempered little Mar- 
guerite ! she had sent a shaft she had not intended. 



Marguerite Sets the Fashion 287 

** Look after himself? What do you mean?" 
said Mrs. Marshall, sharply. 

** I mean what I say. He need n't be looking 
after me and criticising me. He acts just as he did 
in Europe, tormenting me almost to death with his 
superior ways. If that hotel and two or three hun- 
dred workmen aren't enough for him to attend to 
here, I would like to know. Oh, that makes me 
think — we are going to have a lot of fun. The 
dining-room there is all finished and cleared, and John 
has sent for music, — good music, you know, — and 
we are to have a dance to-morrow night. Just our- 
selves, and a few of the nice, real old families around 
here.. Mr. Chaplain knows them all, so he invites 
them, you know. He and John are giving it them- 
selves, only Miss Van Ostade is to send over the 
refreshments. She gets her supplies from some big 
place somewhere. She is a perfect angel." 

" Very charming, certainly, but that is her business, 
you know." 

*' You are so cold, aunt. I say she is lovely." 

"Very true; it is her business to be so. Think 
what she must make out of us." 

'* Oh, hum ! I can't, for the life of me, see why 
she should be so different from everybody else 
just because she keeps boarders. Anyway, her 
business will be gone as soon as the new hotel is 
opened." 

" Oh, no. There are plenty of stupid people who 
would rather come to a place of this kind." 

** But you don't take any interest in the dance, 
aunt. I tell you, it will be swell. Let's see: there 
are forty boarders here, and there will be at least as 



vJi 



288 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

many more from outside; John says there will be 
about a hundred people there, the swellest kind of 
people." 

" And some who are not so swell." 
" Oh, of course. Mr. Held has asked me for the 
first dance and the last, so you see — " 

** I see. All graver interests must stand aside 
Jnow, for a while, for Mr. Held." 
"Certainly, for a while, you know." 
^. J " Marguerite, are you never going to be in 
earnest?" 

*' Yes, aunt. I am very serious now. I am going 
to teach him a valuable lesson." 

** One of these days you will find you have made 
f a grave mistake. Marguerite. I — " 

" Oh, aunt, don't preach. I like scolding better. 
You look so handsome when you scold, — as if you 
could thrust a stiletto into your lover's heart, and so 
^ forth. I think I will write a novel, aunt, just to put 

"^ you in it. You would make a splendid — " 

'* Marguerite, don't chatter. You look so warm 
in that habit ; take it off and put on a thin dress." 

She sprang up and kissed her aunt. " Much 
better advice than you were going to give, aunt dear, 
and I will take it. I won't wear this habit any more 
V when I ride ; I will wear a gingham dress and a 

^S black sunbonnet, as the natives do around here." 

- " Oh, mademoiselle, je proteste," exclaimed Clare, 

J holding up both hands. 

I ^f " That is right, Clare ; you look well when you are 

protesting." •vA^,.t> 

I '^ v^.. *' Mais, j'implore ! Votre beautiful light blue 
:s~ ^ ginkham, vis ze lace, ze ribonne, I can never put her 



Marguerite Sets the Fashion 289 

on you more, ven you haf gone on le cheval wis ze 
dress." 

** Not that one ; don't be troubled. I am going to 
get a plaid gingham at Mr. Hackett's general store, 
and you may make it up for me. That and a great 
white apron and a black sunbonnet, — that is the 
fashion here in America, Clare. You know you like 
to be in the fashion." 

" Oui, mademoiselle, mais je n'aime pas this 
fashion ci." 

Marguerite was as good as her word, and Clare, 
amid mock tears and protestations, fashioned the 
dress with her deft fingers, which her young mistress 
wore with bewitching grace on all her mountain 
excursions for the rest of the season. Indeed, her 
example was followed by all the women boarders 
who dared risk their charms in such a costume ; and 
Mr. Hackett was obliged to lay in a new stock of 
gingham to supply the native trade. 



19 



CHAPTER XXII 

CONFIDENCES 

N^OTHING was talked of but the prospective 
dance at the lunch tables that day. 

" Your daughter will be overtired if she has the 
refreshments to look after, in addition to all she has 
to care for here," said a pleasant old lady to Mrs. 
Van Ostade. 

*' The ladies have very kindly offered to assist, and 
Miss Wells will be over this afternoon. They will 
divide the duties among them." 

At Portia's table the matter of refreshments was 
being discussed sotto voce, until Mrs. Barry's clear 
tones struck an anxious chord with the words, " No 
celery ! but what are we to do for salad? " 

"Why can't we get some? You get it, Miss Van 
Ostade ; we had it yesterday," chimed in Miss 
Keller. 

" Mine is gone, and we have no time to order 
more," replied Portia, in a low voice ; and the con- 
versation dropped to its former undertone. 

" Oh, I see." 

** Well, then, what's to be done?" 

" Substitute something else." 

" Oh, no. We must have salad, and we must have 
celery," said Mrs. Barry. 

"We will think about it and contrive," said Portia. 
" Certainly we should have it." 

290 



Confidences 291 

As they passed out, to gather on the piazza, 
Hanford Clark stepped to Portia's side. 

''Can I help you?" he asked. ** I knew a man 
who used to raise it, only he lives over at the 
Gap." 

" Yes," said Mr. Ridgeway ; " a man by the name 
of Homer raises it, but it would mean a ride of fully 
twenty-four miles, there and back. We might send 
a boy, unless the horse is needed here, Portia." 

Marguerite came and slipped her arm about 
Portia's waist. "What is it?" she said. 

" It is what is n't," said Portia, giving a caressing 
touch to Marguerite's hair. " We are speaking 
of what we shall regale ourselves withal, at the 
dance to-morrow night. There is no celery for the 
salad." 

" Scour the mountains. Send couriers in all 
directions to hunt for celery," said Mr. Held. 

" That is grandfather's suggestion." 

'' There is an English gardener stranded over at 
the Gap," said Hanford. 

" That is the place to go, then," said Mr. Betts. 
" We might make up a party, and ride over. How 
far is it?" 

" Twelve miles or near it," said Hanford. " I will 
go if you wish. Miss Van Ostade ; I shall not be at the 
station for the rest of the day." 

" You must not spend all your leisure doing 
errands for me, you have so little." 

'* Oh, but this is for all, and if I had company on 
the trip — " 

Marguerite was as well aware of the quick glance 
he sent in her direction as if she had seen it. Mr. 



292 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Held was talking to her, and she was looking in his 
face. Hanford did not hear what he was saying, 
but his own face darkened, and he turned away as 
he heard her reply. 

" Yes, we had an awfully good time, but I had a 
lecture from aunt when we got home for going with 
you this morning, so I dare not try it so soon again ; 
anyway, I am tired, and it is hot." 

" Then may I ask what you are intending to do 
the rest of the day?" Mr. Held still spoke in an 
undertone. 

'• Oh, I don't know. I usually do what I don't 
expect to do, so if I could tell you, you would be 
none the wiser." 

Hanford moved away to avoid overhearing further, 
and accosted Mrs. Barry, who sat under a network 
of vines, embroidering and chatting with Mrs. Van 
Ostade. " I don't know that I blame them," she was 
saying. " Mrs. Wells tells me the rising generation 
are an utterly irresponsible class, — absolutely good 
for nothing." 

** Portia has managed to find a use for some of 
them. Of course they needed training," said the 
elder woman. 

** Ah, but that is Portia, not the rising generation. 
She could make sticks and stones rise up and do 
her bidding. But you know they all will steal." 

" I suppose they came up with the notion that 
everything they could la)^ hands on was theirs, and 
that their masters' goods were their own, by right of 
their working without pay." 

" May I join you? " said Hanford, seating himself 
on the piazza railing. 



« 



Confidences 293 

We shall be delighted," said Mrs. Van Ostade. 
" Draw up that large chair. You are not comfort- 
able so." 

" I am very happy here," he said, in polite fiction, 
for he was at that moment most miserable, as Mar- 
guerite chattered and laughed with the young artist, 
who was preparing to work on a sketch of her head, 
begun the day before, while the other guests looked 
on. 

" Of course he is," said Mrs, Barry. ** Men are 
always most happy when they are uncomfortable. 
Why do you ask him to take an easy-chair when he 
is so pleasantly uncomfortable where he is? " 

Hanford laughed. '* I am very well off here, and 
in no mood for an easy-chair. You are right." 

*' We were talking of the negro nuisance, so to 
speak. I think they are the curse of the South." 

" As they have always been," he responded. 
" A unique opinion for a Northern woman to hold." 

'* I know, but I hold it all the same. There are 
two sides to the question, and I am sure Mr. Barry 
will agree with me when he comes down. I don't 
blame people of the South for their feeling towards 
them." 

'' You don't think it possible for them to be 
educated into responsible members of society, 
then?" 

" They would have to be educated a thousand 
years before I would be willing to admit them to my 
society." 

'' And then you would be rather old for society," 
said Portia, who had joined them and stood by her 
mother's chair. " Mamma deary, here is your 



294 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

tonic. I found it by your plate. You forgot it 
this noon." 

Mrs. Van Ostade took the tiny glass, and the look 
she gave her daughter was pathetic in its tenderness. 
Portia stooped and kissed her lightly on the cheek, 
and touched the fine gray hair, and arranged the 
lace at her neck. " I must pet mamma now and 
then," she said with a slight flush, as she caught 
Hanford's eyes fixed on her with smiling regard. 

" I think we are all inclined to envy you the 
privilege," he said gallantly. " And now," he 
glanced at his watch, ** would you like me to drive 
over to the Gap for you, or are they going to make 
up a party, as Mr. Betts proposed ? " 

** No, no one else is going; but it is a shame to 
let you drive away over there, just at a venture, this 
hot afternoon." 

** It will give me the greatest pleasure. I will 
start immediately." 

" If you go now, you will be back for dinner, will 
you not ? " 

*' I may possibly wait until the cool of the even- 
ing before I drive home." 

" It will be far pleasanter," said Mrs. Van Ostade. 

'* Good-bye, then, until to-night. By the way, 
what have you on for this evening?" 

" Nothing much," said Portia. 

" Indeed, we are to picnic over there on the lawn 
where the trees with the seats are, and the negroes 
are to give us a concert," said Mrs. Barry. 

'* I didn't think Mr. Clark would care for that." 

" I always enjoy your httle impromptu events, and 
I most certainly will return in time." 



Confidences 295 

As he approached the group near the artist, 
Marguerite looked up, and his eyes met hers with a 
grave look. He said nothing, and scarcely glanced 
at the sketch as he passed. 

** He need n't be so cross," she thought. ** I don't 
care. He may snub me all he likes, but he sha'n't 
rule me, I will do what I please." She pouted, 
and for an instant forgot artist, sketch, the guests 
who clustered around, and even her own important 
part. She was with Hanford again in the coolness 
and shadows as she was on that first evening. " I 
don't care," she said to herself, but she did care. 

" Ah, I am losing likeness, I fear," said the artist, 
impatiently. *' Or her expression has all changed. 
Miss McLourie, will you have the kindness to — 
there, that is better. The expression you wore a 
moment ago, please. The shade of a smile, and 
the lips slightly parted — " 

" Mr. Held thinks, evidently, that my expressions 
are Paris made, to put off and on like my hats. 
Thank you, sir. Very complimentary, surely." 

** Now — no. Miss McLourie. That really is too 
bad. Just tip your head a little, please. Ah ! I 
had such a beautiful pose here." 

"Such a beautiful pose, Miss McLourie; pray 
don't spoil it," chimed in Miss Keller. 

"Are you nearly through? I am so warm and 
thirsty." 

All were too intent to heed her little complaint, 
so, flushed and a trifle impatient, she tipped her 
pretty head and sat still. Presently she rose. 

"You surely will spare me for a moment; I am 
going for a fan. This heat is intolerable; " and 



296 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

before the gentlemen had time to beg her pardon 
for their thoughtlessness, she was gone. 

Mr. Held hurriedly dashed in a little background 
and drapery during her absence. In the long hall 
she met Hanford with a glass of water. " I heard 
you say you were thirsty after I passed, a moment 
ago," he said. 

" I was dying for a glass of water, and they did n't 
one of them care. Thank you." 

" Naturally they forget everything when they 
have you before them with the privilege of dissect- 
ing your loveliness." 

" It is n't nice of you to put it so." 

"No, it isn't nice, I know; but — Marguerite, 
don't run away from me — I only want a word ; 
come back again." 

" I am going for my fan," she said, tapping im- 
patiently on the step with her foot and leaning over 
the railing; ''speak to me here." 

" I am going over to Pine Gap in the light rig. 
Will you go? It will be cooler in an hour, and 
delightful. Must I go alone?" He mounted the 
stair with his long legs three steps at a time, and 
stood beside her. 

'* Why, no, not necessarily; you can ask some one 
else; I have promised this sitting now." 

" Marguerite." She looked at him with a defiant 
flash in her eyes. " Give me a privilege now and 
then. I am keeping my promise, am I not?" 

** You have immense privileges. No one dare 
say what you said to me a moment since; and as 
for keeping your promise, you either ignore me 
entirely or look at me as if — as if — " she paused. 



Confidences 297 

*' Go on, please ; how do I look? " 

** You contrive in some way to make me feel 
guilty, as if I had been stealing, or — " 

He smiled. " I never meant to arraign you for 
a little thief, though you have stolen from me. I 
don't want it back, only something more pre- 
cious instead. There, don't run; I am keeping 
my promise, and I ask for nothing but this drive 
and a dance to-morrow night. Give me two, the 
first and the last. You grant that much to 



strangers." 



" But those two are both promised." 

His face darkened. " And you won't drive with 
me?" 

*' I can't. I am keeping Mr. Held waiting as it 
is. My loveliness is to be still further dissected by 
a crowd of boarders ; there will be nothing left of 
it by the time you return. There, that is too bad ! 
Don't frown." She darted on up the dingy old 
stairway, a dream in a cloud of sheer white and 
rose-colored ribbons, pausing only at the top to 
look down out of the obscurity and shoot one more 
little arrow into his poor foolish heart. ** I am 
glad to be free, and do just as I please. Farewell," 
and she was gone like a bird escaped from the 
snare. An impulse of tenderness seized her the 
next moment, and she tiptoed back to the stairway 
and looked down; but he was gone. "Well, I 
don't care," she said once more to herself, but she 
did care. Ah, if he had known how much ! 

She hurried to her room, snatched up an antique 
fan, and flew back to her seat on the piazza, where 
she was welcomed by a chorus of voices. A few 



298 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

minutes later she saw Hanford Clark drive away, 
but he did not look up. 

Sketching was not mere pastime with Mr. Anton 
Helvetius Held. He had travelled much, and 
studied hard, was an indefatigable worker, and 
mightily ambitious. It was his dream to make his 
mark in the world both at home and abroad. The 
interest of the moment was of small consequence 
to him, and the remarks of extravagant praise 
bestowed on him now, as he worked, touched him 
not at all, except as they revealed to him some 
defect or weakness, when he grasped at the hint 
(given him mostly in ignorance), eagerly profiting 
thereby. For this reason he gladly displayed his 
sketches, gaining thus a reputation for extreme 
affability, and would sit smilingly by, listening to 
the comments of even the least artistic, if perchance 
some hint might be dropped which he could seize 
and work out later. Alert, humorous, and quietly 
receptive, he yet lacked the one element to secure 
success, — the power to perceive through spiritual 
insight. Too self-centred to allow his soul to 
reach toward and come in touch with other souls, 
he lost the divine impetus which might have made 
him great. 

He would have left Patterson a month ago, but 
that the place was suddenly imbued with new 
interest for him by the arrival of Mrs. Marshall and 
her ward. He would paint the beautiful brunette, 
and in three days' time had so far ingratiated him- 
self with Aunt Isabel that he might have had the 
privilege of painting her portrait also. Marguerite's 
piquancy peculiarly attracted him, and ere two 



Confidences 299 

weeks had passed, seeing her daily, chatting, riding, 
driving, or walking with her, never alone with her, 
yet always in her company, and flirting with her in 
the evening and all the time, he had come to believe 
himself seriously in love. To-day, as he worked 
on, touching the delicate lines of chin and throat 
and cheek, he felt for the first time in his thirty 
years of existence the subtile, baffling power of the 

spirit. 

" Something eludes me here," he ejaculated, "yet 
these lines are certainly correct." 

" Why, Mr. Held, they are perfect," exclaimed 
Miss Keller, who had begun to pay decided court 
to that gentleman. 

Marguerite laughed. " Don't you wish I were a 
mountain, or a heap of green stones with the moss 
on them? Mr. Held paints stones to perfection. 
You see, they never think nor care for anything, so 
he does not have to paint what he cannot see." 

" Miss Van Ostade," he said, seeing her in the 
doorway, '' you have not seen this for some time, 
and can tell the better for that. Are we losing 
likeness here? " 

Portia felt hurried, but came smilingly across to 
the interested group. *' I am no artist, Mr. Held." 
She stopped and hesitated before the drawing. *' It 
seems — " 

*' Don't speak until you have taken time to look 
at it, pray. Now, why is it unlike?" 

** I would not call it unlike. It seems very 
correct." 

" That is what I tell him, very correct," echoed 
Miss Keller. 



300 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Portia brought her head down to a level with 
the artist's, to see his model from his point of 
view. " Yes, it is certainly like, but — " 

** Ah, there it is, but something eludes me." 

** What is it, do you think, that eludes you?" 
she asked, looking gravely in Mr. Held's face. 
With the sure instinct of her own seeing soul, she 
knew why he failed, yet felt powerless to help him, 
unless she could awaken in him the insight by 
which spirit recognizes spirit. *' I presume the 
mere intellectual perception of outward things goes 
but a little way in art," she went on gently; " that 
may be a good reason why we who are not artists 
should not pass judgment." 

" I think it is perfectly wonderful, and a likeness 
too. Now is n't it, Mr. Betts? " said Miss Keller. 

" Certainly the likeness is good, and the technique 
is more than good. I like your handling, Mr. Held." 

The artist remained silent, his arms dropped at 
his side, alternately eying first his model and then 
the picture. 

''What is it eludes you?" asked Portia again. 

" I don't know. You tell me. You can do it." 

" He is trying to grasp at airy nothing, and finds 
it hard to catch," said Marguerite. " I will wager 
you he has put in the picture everything he sees 
in my face, and is only provoked that there is 
nothing more." 

" Miss McLourie, a thousand things are omitted," 
he exclaimed, snatching up his brushes and going 
eagerly to work. 

"Now, Mr. Held, you will surely spoil it," said 
Portia. "Don't try to paint until you are sure of 



Confidences 301 

what you wish to do. Besides, Miss McLourie is 
weary; I see it in her eyes." 

" I beg pardon if you are tired. I did not notice 
it." 

**No? Maybe that was what eluded you," said 
Marguerite, teasingly; "but now if you have seen 
it in my eyes, as Miss Van Ostade has, I will sit a 
little longer while you put it in." 

*'Ah, but I do not want a look of weariness. 
Anything but that," he said, painting on slowly. 

'' I don't wonder it is impossible," said Mrs. Mar- 
shall, shaking out her laces, and viewing the work 
through her hand to shut off surrounding objects. 
** I particularly wished this to be a likeness, not 
a fancy picture. Marguerite, can't you keep the 
same expression for two minutes ; can't you be 
more reposeful? But it is not so bad. Haven't 
you flattered her a little, made her too classic in 
the drawing? " 

" Oh, Mr. Held ! How cruel, to make a guy of 
me ! I hate classic features." She pouted, and 
glanced at him askance. Portia, seeing she was 
really tired and annoyed at being publicly ana- 
lyzed, made a little gesture, which Marguerite 
gladly accepted. She sprang up, all her languor 
gone in a moment. '* I am going with Miss Van 
Ostade, to help her. Miss Katherine and Mrs. 
Barry are helping, why cannot I?" 

" Marguerite ! " exclaimed her aunt. 

" I know, aunt, but Mr. Held can't do anything 
more until he finds out what eludes him. You 
finish the sitting and tell him what it is." And 
they went away together. 



302 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" You naughty one, but how I love you ! I don't 
wonder your aunt wishes the picture to be Hke you ; 
I do, too," said Portia, laughing. 

" He never will make it like me. If he had any 
sense, he would paint you. There is five times 
more in your face than in mine, just as there is 
in what you say and in your voice, only he is too 
stupid to see it, and you are really more beau — " 

** Hush, hush ! " Portia put her arm around the 
little body and drew her close. '' You are tired 
and annoyed. Come and hide from them all in 
our own little sitting-room, mamma's and grand- 
father's and mine." She led the way out of the 
hall to the rear piazza, and thence, up an outside 
stairway, to a small room in the far end of the 
ell addition, having an outlook on three sides. 
Here white curtains floated out into the room with 
the breeze that swept through it, and everything 
seemed white and cool. 

** Oh, what a sweet room ! I did n't know there 
was such a pretty spot in the whole house." 

"No? It is a dingy old house, so I fitted this 
up with pretty things for mamma. Poor mamma ! 
she always used to have pretty things around her. 
I never took any one up here before, for it is my 
place of escape when I need to be alone with her. 
I could not be patient and strong but for this little 
resting-place." 

'' Then you are awfully good to let me in. Why 
do you do it? I shall be sure to want to come 
again." 

" That is why. Do you know you are very beau- 
tiful, and I love you? You have had that said to 



Confidences 303 

you hundreds of times, and it has not spoiled you, 
so I may say it again, and do no harm." 

" It would have spoiled me but for one thing," 
she sighed, and turning away leaned on the wide 
window-ledge, and looked out over the forest at 
the blue mountain-top rising dimly in the distance. 

"What is the one thing?" said Portia, going to 
her side. ** I see many reasons why you are not 
spoiled." 

''Can you? It is good of you to care to find 
them. No one else does. If you will call me Mar- 
guerite, as John does, I will tell you something." 

** Marguerite, you beautiful girl, look at me." 
Portia bent her head and looked into the great 
velvety eyes, and they were full of tears. " Why, 
you darling ! " she said, taking her in her arms, 
and putting her cheek against hers with a caress- 
ing touch, " why, you darling, sit beside me here 
and tell me what it is." 

" It is nothing. Sometimes I am lonely, that 
is all. You think I have everything. I am rich 
and beautiful, that is. to look at, but you don't see 
how that shuts me out from every one. If my 
mother had lived, I am sure she would have loved 
me for something else, for myself." 

" You beautiful little woman, we all love you for 
something else. You are lovely and lovable, with- 
out and within." 

" No, I am not. If I were ugly to look at, you 
would not say these things to me. If I were even 
commonplace-looking like Miss — well, never mind, 
do you think they would be painting my picture, 
or teasing me to drive with them or to dance with 



304 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

them to-morrow evening? No, it is as Aunt Isabel 
says ; there is only John who cares for me without 
caring whether I am rich or pretty, and she is 
determined to have me marry him. Don't tremble 
so. I am not going to do it.» 

" Miss McLourie ! " 

She lifted her head from Portia's breast and 
looked in her eyes, laughing through her own tears. 
" Call me Marguerite again, or I won't go on," she 
touched Portia's cheeks with her finger. " The red 
is all gone from here. I did n't mean to make you 
turn pale." 

"Marguerite, don't!" The blood rushed back 
into Portia's face in a painful blush. 

** Don't care. You need n't. It was n't your fault. 
I saw it in his eyes the first thing, and he should n't 
have been so stupid as to try to hide it from me, 
either." She nestled her head down again, and be- 
gan playing with the ribbons at Portia's belt. 

" You don't know Aunt Isabel yet, but when she 
makes up her mind, she would overturn that moun- 
tain yonder before she would give up. Of course 
I like John, but if I should marry him — why^ — I 
would hate him before the honeymoon was over, 
and he would me." She paused and drew the long 
lilac ribbons through her fingers, while Portia waited 
with beating heart for her to go on. 

" Marguerite," she said at last, " tell me all that 
is in your heart. Has it been making you sad, — 
that, that you saw in his eyes? Tell me truly." 
The arm that clasped Marguerite's waist trembled 
in spite of herself. She feared she knew not 
what. 



Confidences 305 

" Made me sad? It is the very thing I have been 
hoping for. He might have had the sense to fall 
in love with some one long ago, and that would 
have left me free. Aunt Isabel could n't have helped 
herself then." She took Portia's hand, and drew 
the trembling arm closer about her waist. " Love 
me," she said. 

" I do. Marguerite; you creep into my heart as if 
you belonged there." 

**You were in a hurry a minute ago, and I know 
I am keeping you." 

'* I was, but it has passed over." 

" I annoyed you by what I said, but was n't it best 
to be frank?" 

" Yes, darling." 

" Then why don't you be frank too? " 

"About what shall I be frank? You have said 
you know, so what can I say?" 

" Say whether you love him." 

** I can't, Marguerite ; that is more than I have said 
even to my mother." 

*' Never mind. I can feel whether you do or not 
in the very tips of your fingers." 

'* You have n't told me yet what troubled you, 
dear." Portia kissed the warm, flushed cheek. 
"Why were you crying just now?" 

Marguerite sighed. '* Do you know I am utterly 
alone in the world? Even Aunt Isabel isn't my 
aunt; she was my mother's cousin. She loves me, 
I know, and I love her, but it is not like having 
an own mother like yours, and she and John are all 
I have on earth. I had a dear little blue-eyed aunty 
in Scotland once ; I never saw her, but I have her 
20 



3o6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

picture. She wore lace caps, and was very religious, 
Aunt Isabel says. She died and left me all her 
money, and a cat, but not a soul to love me, and 
even the cat is dead. I cried when it died. But 
that is n't the worst, I had gotten used to being all 
alone in the world, and did n't feel it so much in the 
convent, with those sweet sisters ; but when I came 
out Aunt Isabel took me, and she has been awfully 
good to me, and there it is." 

" But I can't see why her being good to you and 
loving you should be a trouble, nor why you could n't 
have loved your cousin, nor why he should n't have 
loved you. How could he help it, indeed?" 

*' Oh, he could help it fast enough. How would 
you like it, to be always thrown at a man's head, 
and have him dodging for fear you might hit 
him? She took me and followed him all around 
Europe, and then in New York, and here she is still 
following him. She loves money as she loves her 
own soul. Here is the way aunt loves : first her 
own self, then money (or vice versa), then me, and 
then John ; so, if she could marry me to John, and 
my money to his, and then keep us always with her, 
she would have all she loves under her control." 

" Oh, she can't be — " 

"I suppose I am talking very badly — only — 
John, of course, is as good as gold, but I won't marry 
him, come what will. He is n't the only man in the 
world, — you may think he is, but he is n't." She 
lifted her head and shot a quick, mischievous glance 
into Portia's eyes. " He has plenty of money, so 
have I. Why can't we each marry some one who 
hasn't any, and so even things up a little?" 



Confidences 307 

'* Marguerite, do you love some one else?" said 
Portia, earnestly. 

'' I don't know whether I do or not." 

"Is it the artist?" Portia spoke with anxiety in 
her voice. " For if it is, he is not worthy of you, 
dear." 

" Oh, yes, he is. Most any one is. John thinks I 
am a wicked flirt. Aunt Isabel says some one will 
be sure to marry me for my looks or my money, 
unless I take John, and that I am trifling away the 
best years of my life, and will be sure to marry a 
crooked stick at last, and no one can call Mr. Held 
crooked. Anyway, he may not care a straw for 
me, and if he does, he needs a good lesson. Now, 
in earnest, I will tell you just how I feel. I feel all 
the time as if I were dragging a ball and chain after 
me, like those poor men in striped clothes who 
passed here to-day. Aunt Isabel loves me, but she 
holds me, I can't tell you how. I love her, but I 
feel half afraid of her, — afraid she will make me do 
something sometime, whether I want to do it or not. 
If I should stop flirting and really love some one, 
and she should oppose me, I would have no soul 
in the world to whom I could turn. What would a 
girl like me do without one woman friend? " Portia 
tried to speak, but the impetuous words flowed on. 
" I say, if John only would love you and marry you, 
I would be free at last, and then I would have you. 
Oh, I would have you ! You are beautiful, and 
you are good." She looked up in Portia's face, 
then threw her arms about her neck, and Portia felt 
the warm tears flowing. An impulse of tenderness 
swept over her like a flood. 



308 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" You have me now, darling, now and forever, no 
matter what your cousin does. You can be free, 
for all that, and have a woman friend who will love 
you for the beautiful soul that is in you. I know 
how it is. You laugh and tease and do all you can 
to make people think you are heartless, because you 
are too proud to lift the veil, and let them see into 
your heart. You want to be loved for what you are, 
and not for the outside show of things ; but, Mar- 
guerite, you have not been told the truth. Would 
all your beauty have stolen into my heart in this 
way, without a beautiful soul to fill it? It isn't 
beauty without that. You are loved for what you 
are, not for either your money or your face." 

" He does n't, and he makes love to me every time 
he gets the chance. He thinks he is in love." 

" Who does ? " 

" Mr. Held, and all he thinks of me is that I am a 
good subject for art. An old ruin would please him 
as well, but he makes love to me because he thinks 
I am pretty. He does n't see anything else. Half 
the men do not. That 's why he can't paint me," 
she spoke in short, sobbing sentences. 

" Then why do you let him? " 

*' Just for fun. It pleases him, and keeps aunt's 
mind diverted from John, and that gives him a 
chance, and then it scares John, and that is worth 
doing, — he thinks he must watch over me like a 
brother, you know, — and then it will be good for 
the artist. He never will paint until he learns to 
look more than skin deep, so it is a good thing all 
around, — and then it makes Miss Keller just wild." 

** But will no one be pained by it? " 



Confidences 309 

Marguerite's conscience pricked her a little, but 
she only said, ''Oh, Mr. Held may think he is for a 
little while, but he will soon get over it. A man 
who cares only for a pretty face can soon solace 
himself. There are more in the world." 

** You puzzle me, Marguerite. Is n't there any 
one who is loving you, who might be hurt by it? " 

'* I puzzle myself. Let 's not talk about me any 
more. I am not a good subject. I love you and I 
mean to help John, and I will be free, and I guess 
P that is all there is to say." 

'' Then dry your eyes, and lie down here where 
it is cool and quiet for a while. Here is your fan, 
and remember, darling, I am going to call you my 
own little sister, always. I have none, only you. 
Kiss me again, dear. Grandfather has gone to take 
Juliet and the other children to drive, and mamma 
is in the kitchen looking after some little things for 
me, so you will be alone for an hour yet." 

" And Clare will never think of looking for me 
here, will she ? " 

" I think not," said Portia, with a smile, " and re- 
member, dear, I want my little sister to come and 
share my retreat with me whenever she likes." 




CHAPTER XXIII 

RESCUE AND SURRENDER 

MARGUERITE'S restless spirit prompted her 
soon to be up and moving. She strung 
Portia's guitar, put it in tune, and strummed on it 
a Httle, then she tripped along the upper outside 
gallery to her own room, and quickly returned with 
a long brocaded ribbon of exquisite changeable 
tints, with which she decorated the instrument ; then 
she leaned on the window-ledge with her chin in her 
hand, and looked out over the forest-covered hillside, 
where two great ledges of rock, jutting high in fan- 
tastic shapes, seemed making elaborate courtesies 
to each other. 

" They look like an old man and an old woman 
hobnobbing together," she thought. She felt the 
breeze at the open window cooler now, and the 
desire seized her to climb the hillside and visit 
the old couple. Everything was very quiet in the 
house, her aunt taking her siesta, and Clare nowhere 
to be seen, and the other inmates gone about their 
own affairs. She stole out, taking only her parasol, 
down the outside stairway, around the rear of the 
house, through the garden, and off into the forest. 
The path led irregularly up the hill, but the old man 
and woman she had seen from Portia's window were 
farther away than she thought. The forest, dense 
with wild undergrowth, hid the rock ledges, and 
soon she lost sight of the house also, but the path 

310 



Rescue and Surrender 



311 



did not lead her to them, although it wound upward. 
It led her away toward the edge of the hill, where 
a deep cut had been made for the Gap road. She 
felt a thrill of romantic delight in being all alone in 
this wilderness, almost hoped that some strange ad- 
venture might befall, with a little quiver of fear lest 
it really should occur. In reality she was as safe 
here as a kitten in its nest, for any danger that 
might come to her from the mountain people. A 
lady would never be treated by them with anything 
other than their gentle, soft-voiced courtesy. Where 
the path joined the cut, high above it, the view 
opened out, a vista of billowy blue hills and mellow 
distances, and down below it was a rough slope of 
flat rock and a small stream of water. Here was a 
canvas-covered wagon, apparently filled with corn 
fodder. The little ox-team lay beside it, resting and 
sleepily chewing their cuds, while their driver sat 
among the fodder eating a coarse lunch of corn 
bread and raw salt pork. The edge of the cut, sharp 
and jagged, overhung the road and the stream, and 
the path wound close to it, completely screened by 
rank shrubbery. 

As Marguerite tiptoed along in her white dress 
and rose-colored ribbons, like a butterfly that should 
have been hovering in the air instead of walking on 
the earth, she heard voices near her, and clinging to 
a scrubby little oak, leaned far enough over to see 
the group below. A man on a lean horse had just 
ridden up. She heard him say he was thirsty, and 
saw the man in the wagon fumble a moment in the 
fodder and bring forth a bottle, which he handed 
out, first glancing up and down the road. 



3 1 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

*' Hev ye mo' kaigs in thar?" asked the horse- 
man, as he slowly drew out the cob cork. His horse 
improved the opportunity, amply justified by his 
leanness, to eat of the fodder in the wagon. 

** I reckon," was the reply. 

'* Then I 'low ye 'd better move on right smart. 
They 's been a raid here lately. Be ye makin' fo' 
th' mill ? " 

" I reckon," was again the reply. 

** Ye 'd better tu'n out o' ye'r way a leetle, 'nd go 
round by Sproat's. The mill business is broke up 
fer now, — th' ol' man's been took; 'nd his woman, 
she keeps keer o' th' trade. Ye '11 hev tu stow thet 
thar in th' cave ovah th' mill bredge. Th' ol' 
woman, she axed me tu watch out fer ye, 'nd I 'lowed 
I 'd come up weth ye yere." 

The man on the load hurriedly thrust his lunch 
into a sack, and began getting up his tired little 
oxen with loud shouts. Marguerite was on the 
point of turning homeward when she heard a 
name mentioned that caused her to pause and 
listen. 

** Hit war th' agent yandah at th' station 'at put 
'em on tu hit, I reckon," said the horseman. *' My 
gal wuz rid'n' by th' station, 'nd she see Clark, thoo 
th' winder, talkin' weth thet young feller 't hes th' 
peach orchid, up Pine Knob way. She reckoned 
'at he done hit, fer she hyearn him say 't he 'lowed 
't th' co'n meal 't wuz tu'ned out o' th' mill wuz 
ruther juicy 'nd strong tastin', 'nd I reckon 't he 
done hit tu. Anyhow, we 'r' layin' out tu watch 
'im, 'nd I 'low they'll be a bullet thoo 'im 'fo' 
mawnin' or somethin' wuss." 



Rescue and Surrender 3 1 3 

Marguerite felt her heart suddenly stop beating. 
She grew faint with fear. They were going to put a 
bullet into Hanford Clark. It was Hanford ! She 
crept cautiously as near the precipice's edge as she 
dared, and dropped on her knees to listen. Yes, 
surely it was Hanford. She heard the man say 
that Dick Button had brought the officials down on 
them and raided the mill, and broken up two stills, 
and then sold out his interest in the peach orchard 
and gone, — knowing it would be dangerous for him 
to stay, — and that they were going to be revenged 
on the agent. 

** Hit war th' agent sot Button on, 'nd he '11 be 
met up weth 'fo' sun-up to-morrow fo' hit. We 
'lowed fust 't we 'd drap 'im ovah th' trestle like we 
done th' lawyer las' spring ; but Patterson, he 'lowed 
they wuz tu many stranger folks 'round thoo th* 
maount'ns fo' hit. He reckoned thar'd be mo* 
s'arch fo' th' agent likely, 'nd they mount git track 
o' th' lawyer that-a-way, 'nd so git th' law on us, 'nd 
some o' we-uns mount be called tu swing fo' hit tu. 
These gov'nment ones is mighty dead sot oncet 
they gits on." 

"Gee whoah thar, Bill, what ye duin' thar?" 
shouted the driver, getting his ox-team laboriously 
under way. He stopped in the middle of the stream 
while the beasts dipped their noses in the refreshing 
water, and sniffed over its rippling surface and 
called to the rider who was turning away. 

*' Look a-here, whar yu likely tu come up weth 
'im? Yandah tu th' station? " 

"They's no chance th'ar. Naw, he's off to-day. 
I be'n layin' fo' him evah sence th' raid, but he 



3 1 4 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

sticks thai' mighty clost." Tlien he went on to ex- 
plain that he saw Clark was not at his post, and that 
he went to the boarding-house ostensibly to ask Mr. 
Ridgeway for the job of furnishing him post lumber, 
but in reality to find out Clark's movements; that 
he had seen him drive off and had learned from 
Andy that he was expected back about the time the 
chickens go to roost ; that he had taken a turn 
about, which had brought him face to face with the 
agent, and that Clark had asked him where he 
might find the English gardener at the Gap, and 
that then he had posted three stout mountaineers at 
the turn just above the railway tunnel, and that he 
was now on his way to join them. 

** Th' las' train comes thoo aftah dark, an' we 'low 
tu make th' capture, 'nd bind 'im, 'nd lay 'im on th' 
track inside th' tunn'l, an' then turn his hoss loose, 
'nd lash 'im, 'nd let 'im jest natch'ly make fo' home 
like he 'd come up weth a skeer. Hit 's a natch'l 
death like fo' th' agent tu be met up weth by his 
own train." 

'* Why n't ye jest shoot 'im 'nd be done weth 
hit?" said the driver, bitterly. " Th' law hes no 
rights tu be interferin' weth we-uns 'nd ouh livin', 
'nd we-all hes a right tu come up weth th' law." 

*'Thet's so, but they is quite a few tu many fo' 
us hyarabouts, these days. Ef we kyant kiver ouh 
tracks, some o' we-uns mount be called on tu swing, 
oh w'ar a striped suit 'nd haul a chain." 

He said this last in a lower tone, but every word 
fell heavily on Marguerite's heart. She remained 
motionless on her knees, almost paralyzed with 
horror and fear. She heard the driver shouting to 



Rescue and Surrender 315 

his clumsy beasts as they cHmbed a steep, narrow 
road, that led up into the mountain, and then down 
into a deep gorge behind the old mill. " Haw, Bill ! 
Whoah thar ! haw, Buck ! Whoah thar ! Gee ! 
Gee up, Bill." His voice came back to her as if in 
a dream. Her head swam, and fiery motes danced 
before her eyes. Suddenly she sprang up. She 
must do something quickly ! Should she run back, 
and send a messenger in haste? She looked at her 
pretty little watch. Oh, it was too late. By the 
time she reached the house he would be there, and 
she was halfway there already. She must go to 
him herself. She must run and stop him before 
he passed the turn above the tunnel. Without a 
moment's further thought she started down the 
steep bank. Her knees, weak with excitement, 
gave way under her, but she saved herself by catch- 
ing at the bushes from going headlong. She 
stamped her foot. ** See here ! " she said, com- 
manding herself; *' I must be brave, I must be 
strong, or I can't reach him." Then gathering her 
pretty muslin skirts out of the wet, she sprang from 
one large stepping-stone to another across the 
stream, and hurried on in the direction taken by 
the horseman. 

"I must go this way," she said. ''This is the 
w^ay he went. What if they should shoot me ! But 
they would n't do that. They won't care for me, 
and I could go right by and they might never sus- 
pect me. If I could only get there first ! " Sud- 
denly the horrible thought came to her, what if this 
should not be the Gap road, what if the man had 
gone a roundabout way, and she should not reach 



3 1 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

the tunnel at all ! She stood still and wrung her 
hands. *' Oh, what shall I do? what shall I do? 
If I were a man, I would have shot them both 
dead," she said. 

She heard the sound of horses* feet coming at a 
walk, and presently a woman, young and pleasant- 
faced, with a baby in her arms, and a sack of meal 
behind her, rode around a curve in the road. 

"Can you tell me, is this the Gap road?" said 
Marguerite, quickly. 

The woman reined in her horse, and sat staring a 
moment as if she did not comprehend. 

" Howdy ! " she said. 

" Howdy ! " replied Marguerite. " Is this the 
way to the Gap? " 

'' Yu ain't 'lowin' tu walk cl'ar tu thar, be yu?" 
was the gentle reply. 

" Oh, no, no ! But is this the right way?" 

" Why, yas 'm, this 'n' 's th' road." 

"Thank you. And how far is it to the tunnel? " 

" I don' rightly know. Hit mount be a mild or 
tharabouts. Hit 's nigh on tu a mild, I reckon," 
said the woman, languidly yet wonderingly. 

"Thank you." Marguerite tried to appear to be 
sauntering, and swung her parasol carelessly, as the 
woman turned to gaze back at her, but when she 
was fairly around the curve out of sight, she began 
to run. On she hurried, now walking, now running, 
never stopping. Her heart beat high, her cheeks 
grew flushed, and the sun sank lower and lower. 
" Oh, if I could only run as fast as I could think ! " 
she said. She wondered what Aunt Isabel might be 
tliinking. She grew weak and tired, but still hurried 



Rescue and Surrender 3 1 7 

on. Would the turn never be reached? Suddenly 
she came to a full stop. She had reached a ford, 
wide and deep, and her heart sank. She could see 
no foot-bridge, not even a log on which to cross it. 
There was one higher up, where the stream was 
narrower, but she did not know of it. She thought 
she heard a whistle, and held her breath to listen, — • 
some one might be coming who could take her 
across, — but no one came, and all was still. 

Oh, it was so lonely ! and the sun was sinking, 
sinking. The forest was all around her. A bird 
high over her head uttered a strange note that 
startled her. The tears filled her eyes, that ached 
with the pressure of them unshed, but she crowded 
them back. Suddenly a thought struck her. *' Why 
haven't I prayed?" she said. " Portia Van Ostade 
would have prayed, and then this would n't have 
happened. Some one would have been here to help 
her over." She dropped on her knees, and her 
heart cried out within her. " Oh, please God, help 
me. Don't let them do it. Let me get across. 
Let me reach him first and send him back. O 
God, I love him, I love him. Let me go on, for 
Christ's sake, amen, amen." 

Then she rose and walked to the edge of the 
water. How clear it was ! She could see where 
the wagon tracks ran into it, on the gravelly bed, 
and the great boulders at one side. Some of them 
almost reached the surface. They were so near 
together she thought she could cross, stepping 
from one to another. Again she tucked up her 
skirts, and this time walked bravely into the water; 
but she was wrong, it would have been better had 



3 1 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

she taken the way of the wagons, as the river bed 
was higher there, and among the boulders were deep 
holes, and in the middle of the stream the current 
was swift and strong ; but how could she know the 
wisest way, poor little heart ! 

She shrank back as the cold water touched her 
skin, for she was heated, and the river was fed by 
mountain streams that drew their supply from 
cooler heights. " Oh, but I must, I must get 
across," she said, and slowly, steadily, stepped from 
stone to stone. The water came up higher and 
higher — alas for the pretty muslins and rose-colored 
ribbons ! — now to her knees, now to her waist ; 
then, slipping from her slimy footing, the water 
closed overhead, but only for an instant. She 
raised her face above the surface, and clambering 
upon another boulder, regained her footing. She 
steadied herself, leaning against the current, her 
heart beat wildly, and she still clung to her poor 
bedraggled parasol, as to a straw of hope. Again 
she essayed to step from stone to stone, carefully, 
carefully; once and again she succeeded, and again 
went down. Oh, would she never get across? 
Would she drown? Then the thought of her 
lover's peril gave her strength, and once more she 
struggled up on the rocks. She was nearly across, 
but, oh, how the time was passing ! The sun was 
quite gone behind the hill. Even now they might 
be killing him, and the river was so cold and swift. 
Again she lifted up her heart in supplication and 
terror, not for herself. ** O God, let me get across, 
let me go to him, let me save him ! " and carefully 
reached one step farther, and gained it, but at the 



Rescue and Surrender 319 

next again went down. But here the river bed was 
steeply shelving to the opposite shore, although 
covered with jagged stones that hurt her. She 
toiled up it, and at last, with her clothes hanging 
heavily wet upon her, crawled on her hands and 
knees up the bank, where she lay for a moment 
exhausted with the struggle and the fright. Still 
she dared not stop. She rose and wrung out her 
draggled skirts, and plodded on, almost hopeless 
now of reaching the turn in time, and not knowing 
how much farther she must go. 

" It can't be much farther, for the train goes 
through that tunnel soon after leaving the station," 
she thought. 

Presently she heard the sound of crackling bushes 
and the snort of a horse. There at the roadside 
stood Prince, the lazy boarding-house hack, crop- 
ping the tender ends of shrubs, and dragging the 
light rig after him, very much cramped and tilted 
on its side. Evidently, in their struggle with their 
victim, the men had forgotten to lash the horse 
toward home as they intended. Marguerite paused, 
quivering like a deer set at bay by the hounds. 
In that one instant she became a woman. The 
nobility of her nature, which had lain dormant in 
the heart of the girl, rose within her. The heroine's, 
the woman's — nay, the Divine — spirit of willing self- 
sacrifice, if such need be, glowed, a living fire, in her 
great dark eyes. The reality of the horror she had 
feared was upon her, and she must meet it alone. 

'' They have taken him. Oh, they have done 
it ! " she said with quivering lips. Springing to 
the horse's head, she backed him about until she 



320 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

had righted the vehicle, then gathering the reins 
from under his feet, she cHmbed to the seat her 
lover had occupied so short a time since. If only 
he were not dead, she might save him yet, she 
thought. Cautiously, slowly, in the lessening light, 
she drove out of the road and straight in among 
the azalea and laurel shrubs, threading her way 
among the young oaks and slender pines, until 
the ground became too rough for her to go any 
farther. There, tying him securely behind a great 
thick-leaved rhododendron, that formed a complete 
screen from the road, she went on toward the cut, 
keeping well in among the bushes. Fearing that 
her white dress might betray her presence, she 
covered herself with the brown linen lap-cover from 
the wagon. Hearing voices, she crouched behind a 
rock, around which she could peer into the road 
through the leaves. The voices grew more distinct, 
and soon came the sound of running feet on the 
hard road, and the four men went hurrying by. 
She counted them as they passed, while her heart 
stood still. 

** We best cl'ar out o' yer, 'nd show up at th' 
station 'fo' train time," she heard one of them say. 
Wet and shivering, she strained to catch the last 
sounds of their running feet, then heedless of thorns 
and brambles, she left her hiding-place, flying 
through the thicket and up the slope toward the 
cut of the tunnel. It was right before her now. 
She could see the dark walls of rock looming up in 
the twilight, with the patch of clear yellow sunset 
sky showing between them, and just beyond, the 
tunnel opening its black mouth, as if to swallow her 



Rescue and Surrender 321 

up forever. Here she paused and called his name 
with all her strength into the cavern, but only the 
hollow reverberations of her own voice came back 
to her. Then she entered, feeling her way cautiously 
in the darkness. The rock wall seemed icy cold 
to her touch, and great cold drops, trickling through 
the roof from underground springs, fell on her 
face and neck. 

** Oh, they have killed him, they have killed him ! " 
she wailed, and her voice sounded in her ears like 
a scream, of agony. She paused again and listened, 
and this time she thought she heard a faint moan 
far beyond her in the gloom, and her eyes grow- 
ing accustomed to the darkness, she hurried faster. 
Again the moan came to her. Yes, he was alive ; 
he was there. She could see the dark form lying 
across the track in front of her. 

"I am coming, Hanford; I am here," she cried, 
running and bending over him. "Speak to me." 
She touched him, feeling for his face. It was 
covered with cold drops, and — oh, horrible! — he 
was gagged — he could not speak to her — and 
bound with cruel ropes, round and round his body 
and arms and legs. The villains had done their 
work well. She began feeling for his pockets. 

"I am looking for a knife, Hanford," she said, and 
found one. It was only a penknife, but she cut 
away tremblingly in her eagerness. What if the train 
should come now ! But she would die with him 
if it did. She freed his hands, feeling for the cords 
that were cutting into the flesh at his wrists, and 
binding them behind his back. Then she tried to 

remove the torturing gag. He felt the touch of 
- 21 



322 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

her fingers on his face and neck, and it seemed to 
him that he was dreaming an angel had come to 
set him free. 

" Oh, Hanford, I can't cut it. I shall hurt you," 
she cried, the tears streaming down her cheeks and 
dropping warm on his face. Then he knew her, 
and a thrill of joy, that in its intensity was pain, 
roused him. He felt with his freed hands for hers, 
and taking the knife from her rapidly cut the cords 
one by one. The stupor and numbness that had 
crept over him were gone in an instant, swept away 
by that sudden thrill of joy. 

" Marguerite," he said, reaching for her in the 
darkness, ''speak again. Is it you? Angel from 
heaven, is it you? " 

"Hanford, don't wait; don't even speak. Come, 
come out of here. The train may be coming even 
now," she cried, pulling him toward the opening 
of the tunnel. All his strength returned to him 
then with the touch of her hands. 

" Marguerite, how came you here? You are trem- 
bling and wet and cold. Let me carry you, Mar- 
guerite. There is no hurry. The train is not due 
yet. It is still light outside." He took her up in 
his arms and carried her, and she clung to him 
sobbing, her strength gone ; and as he walked 
stumblingly out of that terrible hole in the earth, he 
continued to talk to her, out of the depths of his 
tenderness, scarcely knowing what words he used. 

" Marguerite, my life, my soul, where did you 
come from? Marguerite, my hope, spirit of my 
spirit, did you know that I was dying there ? How 
did you come to set me free? You are drenched 



Rescue and Surrender 323 

through, love, you are cold and shivering, but your 
tears warmed me, dear, they warmed me to the 
heart. If my love could only wrap you about and 
warm you so ! Speak to me again. Marguerite 
or I shall think I am only dreaming this. Whisper 
it to me. Why did you come? " 

She could not speak for sobbing, but he felt her 
heart beating, and her hands tighten their hold, 
and again the intensity of his love for her thrilled 
his whole being with pain, and he walked on in 
silence, scarcely feeling the earth beneath his feet. 
It was warmer in the outer air. He wrapped his 
coat about her, and picking up the linen lap-cover 
from where it had fallen as she ran, he began still 
further to wrap her in it, but she would not. 

" Don't stop for this," she said, looking about her 
in terror. "I am warm now, almost;" but she 
shivered still. "We will run, that will warm me. 
Let us get away from here. Come. I will show 
you where I hid the horse." 

**You hid him? You?" He stopped still in his 
astonishment; but she slipped her hand in his and 
pulled him on. 

" Come, don't stand. Run. They may come 
back again and kill you. Did they hurt you, Han- 
ford? I know they did." 

" No, they were too many for me. They werr 
upon me before I could collect my senses. I was 
driving along slowly, thinking — of — something 
not very pleasant. I was moody, and did n't care 
much what they did with me." They hurried on 
a few minutes in silence, then Marguerite spoke 
again, — 



324 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"Something not very pleasant? Then you must 
have been thinking of me. Would you care now 
what they might do with you, if they should come 
back?" 

** Now, Marguerite, I would fight to the death," 
he said, between his closed teeth. 

They found the horse as she had left him, and 
Hanford marvelled at her presence of mind and 
dexterity. As they jogged home in the darkness, 
he listened to her story, pathetic in the very sim- 
plicity of her telling, and the unwittingness with 
which she revealed her soul to him. Of her terror, 
- — yet he knew it was for him ; her moments of 
anguish, as she struggled in the swift, cold current 

— for him; her exhaustion and almost despair — 
for him ; her courage reviving and strengthening 

— for him ; and at last her tenderness and weep- 
ing — still for him; and he felt no more the sense 
of danger, nor of cords being cruelly wound about 
him, nor of the horror of being left in the darkness 
to wait for a terrible and indescribable death, but 
was filled with a sense of exhilaration, — as if he 
were a god who had received a sacrifice, or a soul 
who had passed through the '* valley of the shadow 
of death " and entered into paradise. Very simply 
was the story told. Only, as they passed through 
the river at the ford, she drew back and shivered. 
At the same time they heard a low rumbling in the 
distance. It was the train that would have sent 
him into eternity. He gathered her close to him, 
and she covered her face with her hands and shrank 
down like a frightened child, as it rumbled through 
the tunnel with a hollow roar. 



^ 



Rescue and Surrender 325 

'' Hanford, If I had n't heard those men, now, in 
this very minute you would have been being killed. 
You would never know — " She stopped and was ^ 
silent. ^ 

"What would I never have known, Marguerite? t 
Don't think of the rest." ^ 

'' You would never have known that I cared, — 
nor that I was loving you," she faltered. ** You 
would have gone out — and — I — I would have g 
died." ^ 

*' Marguerite, listen," he said, and then for a 
moment he could not speak. '' There are no words," ? V 
he said at last, '* none deep enough, nor strong A ^ 
enough, nor beautiful enough, to utter what I would. "' 4 
Say again to me, *I love you;' you never said it^" 
before, and to hear you now, takes me straight out ; ^v 
of hell, where I was when I felt your tears on my v. 
face, into heaven." .^ 

" Yes, I said them once before, right here. I 
said them to God before I went into the water. 
I was afraid, and I prayed them here on the rives- 
bank. Oh, I was so afraid I could n't get across, so 
I said, I love him, and God understood." 

Hanford bowed his head. He thought of the one 
prayer of all prayers, made in the Garden of Geth- 
semane, and knew hers to be, in its human weakness 
and fear, a shadow of the same, — a giving up, if 
need be, her life for his, and once more he was 
dumb. At last he said, — 

" You have sanctified my life, Marguerite. You 
have prayed the one prayer that makes a human 
soul divine. You would have given your life for 
mine, — for only the chance of saving mine." 



326 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" I prayed the most human kind of prayer, Han- 
ford. It was to live, and get across before it should 
be too late." 

"And all the time you knew you might die in the 
attempt." 

** But I was not thinking about dying, only of 
living ; and anyway, it is past now, and we are both 
safe, so we will not think of it any more, will we?" 

** Forget it as soon as you can, darling. For me, 
the remembrance is sweet, and I shall treasure it 
forever." 

Nearing home, they heard the sounds of banjoes, 
and negro voices singing, and of laughter. The 
guests were having their impromptu concert under 
the trees, where lanterns had been swung. 

*' Oh, what shall I do ? " said Marguerite. *' Don't 
let them know. Let me go in by the garden, by 
myself, — and — Hanford, what are you going to do ? 
Will you have those men sent to prison? The man 
I heard talking said that, first, they were going to 
shoot you or throw you over the trestle, as they did 
the lawyer. They will kill you yet, Hanford, if they 
are free." 

Hanford was tying the horse by the little garden 
gate, that he might walk with her to the house 
without being descried from the front. 

"What's that?" he said sharply. "Over the 
trestle ? So ! That was the way he was disposed 
of! Tell me everything they said." 

"Who was he?" 

" The lawyer, Monk, who had charge of your 
aunt's affairs here in Patterson. He was suddenly 
missing last spring; that is the man. To-morrow, if 



Rescue and Surrender 327 

you are not made ill by all you have done, will you 
tell John every word of their talk? We may get a 
clue that will trace his murder to those very villains, 
and so bring them to justice, without — " he paused 
and bit his lip. " Come," he said, ** we must go 
in ; you are hardly able to stand. Let me carry you 
again ; you are not heavy." 

*' Yes, I am ; besides, I can walk. Bring them 
to justice without what, were you going to say? " 

" Let me tell you to-morrow, sweetheart. It is 
only that you must not be dragged in, in any way." 

The rear of the old house was entirely deserted. 
Marguerite led the way to the stairway leading to 
Portia's little parlor, then, standing on the step, she 
turned and took his face between her two hands. 

" Hanford, now that I have done this, I can never 
say again what I said to you this afternoon when 
you left," and with a shiver and half a sob, she 
began to climb the stairs. 

Poor heart ! she had yielded. She could never 
again say " I am free " like the birds of the air. 
Her wings from this time forth were to take her at 
the will of another. Ah, when a woman gives her 
heart to her lover, she in a sense dies to herself, 
whether she realizes it or not. More often she 
does not; and for him, were such a thought pre- 
sented to him, he would say, " It is not so," and yet 
so it is. In this instant Hanford realized the magni- 
tude of his desires. He sprang after her, and 
gathering the drooping little figure in his arms 
carried her the remainder of the way, holding her 
close in the strength of his desperation. 

" Dearest, does it hurt you so, that I love you as 



328 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

I do? Yes, men are selfish, I see it; for if I could 
have my way, I would hold you forever, close, — I 
would have you mine; but see, it takes greater 
strength of love to open my arms this way and set 
you free, for if you were never to come back to 
them. Marguerite, I would rather you had left me 
as you found me, with the cords wound about me 
in the darkness ; but go, you beautiful soul, be 
free. If you wish it, — must it be? — everything 
shall be as it was between us ; only, for this even- 
ing, darling, I will keep the memory of it sacred, 
and believe that an angel came and cut the cords." 
He took both the cold little hands in his and kissed 
them. '^ Good-bye, free, beautiful little hands. I 
will send Miss Van Ostade to you. You will perish 
from this exposure. Good-bye." 

He found Portia among the guests, talking with 
Miss Katherine. '* Miss Van Ostade, I have brought 
you the celery," he said. 

*' Oh, Mr. Clark, you are safe back. I am glad. 
We who are responsible for the refreshments will 
be everlastingly grateful to you for this. I will go 
and take care of it." 

** Indeed, yes. Yu ah ouh benefactor, Mr. Clark," 
said Katherine. 

*' I believe I am nervously glad to see you back," 
said Portia, as he walked on toward the house at 
her side. " I have had a troubled feeling, I can't 
imagine why, as of something dreadful impending." 
Hanford said nothing until they should be out of 
hearing of the others, and she talked on. " I hope 
I am not a creature of fancies. Mrs. Marshall has 
been fretting about her niece ; she was nowhere to 



Rescue and Surrender 329 

be found at dinner. That may have added to the 
feeling somewhat." 

Just then Clare came up to them. 

*' Has Miss McLourie returned?" said Portia. 

" Non, mademoiselle," there was an anxious note 
in her voice. ** Et madame, she look efery vair, in 
ze jardin, efery vair." 

" Is your mistress out there now with the other 
guests?" asked Hanford. 

'* Oui, monsieur, et ze is distracted, la madame." 

" I saw her in the house a moment since, so she 
cannot be lost, tell your mistress." He spoke 
guardedly, knowing well that Marguerite would 
prefer to tell her own story, and that she would tell 
it first of all to Portia. 

" You were right, Miss Van Ostade, there has 
been trouble ; but do not be alarmed, it is past. 
Miss McLourie will tell you, I am sure. She pre- 
ferred to go to your room, and I told her I would 
send you to her. She has saved my life at the risk 
of her own." His lips quivered with emotion. " Go 
to her; she is drenched through, and fatigued to 
death. Say nothing to any one, — for — I think 
she wishes it. Is John here? " 

*' Yes, he is ; go to the dining-room ; I have dinner 
saved for you." 

'' Thank you, I will find John and then wait on 
myself. Don't trouble about me." 

Portia found Marguerite suffering from a nervous 
chill, and without waiting for any explanations, 
helped her to her own room, warmed and com- 
forted, before Clare had time to find Aunt Isabel, 
and bring her in from " ze jardin," 



330 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Don't try to tell me to-night, little sister," said 
Portia, as Marguerite clung sobbing to her neck, 
weak from the relaxation of her nerves after their 
long tension, and more exhausted than she knew. 
** I will not tell any one a thing you do not wish, 
only that you were not well and have retired. I 
will bring you some hot milk, deary, and treat you 
like a half-drowned, half-starved little kitten," she 
said, kissing her and tucking her in. 

Ah, yes ! Portia, with the true instinct of a lov- 
ing heart, knew what the little sister needed most. 
She took away the wet garments, lest Clare find 
them and make an outcry over them. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

AUNT ISABEL REMONSTRATES 

THE two friends stood in Hanford Clark's old 
quarters at Scrapp's, looking out of the win- 
dow, as they had done the last time they were in it 
together. " There," said Hanford, " you see those 
two dead trees, — the tall ones standing together? 
They must be upwards of a hundred feet high, and 
see how far they are below the trestle. They have 
grown out of a bed of almost solid rock, those pines. 
If a man fell from a moving train at that point, you 
can easily see he would fall into the next world. 
That's what became of Monk." 

** We stood here and saw the vultures hovering 
over that spot," said John. ** Could his remains be 
found and identified now? Hardly, I fear." 

** Yes, I remember. It was to locate the spot that 
I brought you up here. Possibly by his clothing, 
or papers, whatever he had on at the time, he might 
be identified. Chaplain is an honorable fellow. He 
could not have known of this." 

" I opine not." 

*' Well, w^hat *s to be done? " 

" That 's the question," said Hanford. " Party 
spirit ran high last spring, but that feeling has sub- 
sided now. This attack on me was evidently done 
in revenge, — Button being out of the way. I did 

33^ 



332 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

set them on the track, and I also advised Button to 
sell out and take himself off." 

" Why did they pitch on you? Why did n't they 
take Craig? " 

" Craig is a shrewd, cautious fellow. He kept 
himself well out of it." 

'* Have you seen the rascals who waylaid you 
since? " 

" Not I. They dare not show up yet." 

'* Well, the question still remains, what 's to be 
done?" 

" I can go back to New York, and take up my 
profession again." 

" Stay here and fight it out. I will back you up." 

*' I can't. Miss McLourie is the only witness I 
would have in the case." 

** I see. You are a noble fellow, and she — she is 
— a brick ; she is a — " 

" An angel, "said Hanford. "She shall be spared 
all annoyance." 

*' Then the only thing to be done is to intimidate 
those fellows." 

'* We have no shadow of evidence against them." 

" None as yet, but let some party come upon 
Monk's remains, there may be evidence found to do 
more than intimidate." They were silent a minute, 
then John continued. '' We would better consult 
Judson. He knows these men, and he is law and 
gospel to them. You see he is the only male being 
they have any respect for, — a true Southern gentle- 
man." 

As they crossed over to the lawyer's old rooms, 
where Judson and John had their offices, they en- 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 333 

countered Portia and Miss Katherine, with their 
carriage heaped full of green branches and vines, 
and flowers from Katherine's old garden. 

"Ah, ha ! " said Hanford, "you are going to make 
a bower of the ball-room." 

"Oh, Mr. Clark," cried Miss Katherine, "you 
should heah the ladies back at the house praising 
you foh taking that trip yesterday, and bringing the 
celery. Youah ears would tingle." 

After a word with Portia, John began speaking to 
Miss Katherine, and Hanford stepped into his place 
and addressed Portia quietly. " How is she?" 

"She seems to have recovered entirely; is a 
trifle pale, but you will see her soon. She is to 
follow us in the carriage with her aunt," said Portia, 
in a low voice. 

" We will be over to help you in an hour, or less," 
said John as they passed on. 

" Thanks," said Portia; "we shall need your ar- 
tistic judgment there." 

" You will need workmen and tools to carry out 
your own ideas, more likely." 

Judson Chaplain sat tilted back in his chair, smok- 
ing, — handsome and indolent. John clapped his 
hand on his shoulder, and gave him a shake. 
" Rouse up," he said ; " Clark and I want you to 
bring all the powers of your mind to bear on what 
we have to say. Now, Hanford, begin." 

" I think, suh," said Judson, after listening intently 
until Hanford was through, " you should leave this 
whole mattah to me. I know these fellows, have 
lived among them, so to speak, and I know right 
wheah tu put my hands on them, and they know it. 



334 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

It's not worth ouh while tu prosecute, unless we 
get enough direct evidence tu convict, but I know 
the men who ah at the bottom of this." 

" I think I know four of them now," said Hanford, 
grimly. " I do not care to prosecute, — not if pub- 
lic safety can be secured without it." 

" One thing I wish tu say befo' we go any fa'ther, 
suh," said Chaplain, addressing Hanford, and regard- 
ing the two young men before him with a flash of 
fire in his eyes, "I wish tu say, as yu ah a gentleman, 
suh, yu recognize a gentleman when yu see him, — 
that my hands ah clean. I disclaim all knowledge 
of the dirty trick done heah, in the disposal of that 
rascally lawyer, suh, and — " 

*' It is not necessary," interrupted Hanford. " We 
have no suspicion of the sort, nor could we have. 
You are a gentleman, sir, through and through; and 
although you are of the South and I am of the 
North, we yet have a kinship in this," he held out 
his hand, and the other sliook it warmly. 

'* Then we understand each other, suh. Now, will 
you give me the names of the ones who attacked yu 
last evening? I will ride up theih to-day, and let 
them know that they ah watched, and that they ah 
likely tue drag a ball and chain foh the rest of 
theih lives. They shall understand that the one 
who saved youh life saved theihs ; and as foh the 
other matter, I will probe it tu the bitter end. 
They gave me my office by it, but I am pledged tu 
uphold the laws of the land, and moreovah my 
honoh is at stake." 

''You are right, Judson," said John, gravely. 
" There is no other way." 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 335 

"I adaiire your spirit," said Hanford, rising. 
" Now, sir, this is the first and last step I shall 
take in the affair. I am satisfied that you will do 
all that your judgment dictates as best; moreover, 
I bear these fellows no grave ill-wilL They may, 
indeed, have rendered me a service, — certainly, if 
they secure to me your friendship, sir, if in no other 
way." 

'' You ah a generous man, suh. And let me 
assure you, you need have no cause for personal 
fear hereaftah. I can make this thing plain to 
them." 

*' I have none. Shall we go over to the hotel, 
John? " he had seen Marguerite and her aunt drive 
past. "Will you accompany us, sir? The ladies 
are decorating the room for this evening." 

So the three friends sauntered up the winding 
paths to the building, which was fast nearing com- 
pletion, and was quite imposing in appearance, as 
well as wholly artistic. John felt a sense of satis- 
faction and pride, as he called attention to its good 
points. *' I feel like the wicked man in the Bible," 
he said, '* as if I were saying, ' Is not this great 
Babylon, that I have builded?'" 

" I believe I shah in that feeling also," said 
Judson. 

'' And you have a right to," said John. 

" Your uncle must wish to see it," said Hanford. 

** I have had it photographed at every stage, and 
sent the pictures on to him. He may come on this 
fall or winter. I have secured a manager to open it 
the day the last workman is out." 

*' Have you, indeed? " said Hanford. ''You are 



336 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

more of a business man than I gave you credit 
for." 

'' And why so low an opinion of my business 
ability?" 

" Oh, you are an artist, you know." 

John laughed. " The more genius, the more fool, 
eh?" 

They found the ladies in the midst of the wildest 
confusion of materials, chatting, laughing, and mak- 
ing garlands. Portia stood in the centre, smiling 
and rosy, with her arms full of honeysuckle vines 
that trailed to the floor and filled the room with 
their fragrance. 

" Here are more," she was saying. *' Where shall 
I put them?" 

" Yu can't du betteh than tu hold them just like 
that. We will put yu on a pedestal at the end of 
that arch, and call you Flora," said Miss Katherine. 

" And keep me standing still all the evening while 
the rest of you dance ! Indeed, no ! " 
v| John watched her with his heart in his eyes, as 

she dropped the vines at Miss Katherine's feet. 
*' What can we do to help you? " he said. " Com- 
mand us." 

His mother saw the light in his face, from where 
she stood looking on, and her heart was filled with 
resentment towards the beautiful girl for whom it 
was kindled. 

" Oh, we ah so glad yu ah come," said Miss 
Katherine. *' Tell us, shall we put the musicians up 
theah on the gallery, or leave that foh those who ah 
not dancing, and screen off a place on the floor in 
one cornah foh them?" 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 337 

" I will have one of the carpenters put up a 
framework under the end of that arch, where you 
proposed placing a pedestal for Miss Van Ostade, 
and the musicians can be screened off there." 

*' Now that I approve of," said Portia. " Miss 
Wells' suggestion was too cruel." 

" Yu can't escape," said Miss Katherine, teasingly, 
as Portia sat herself down beside her. *' You will be 
an ohnament all the same, whethah you dance o' 
pose in a cornah." 

The words were spoken in her low sweet voice, 
that none but Portia should hear. Unconsciously to 
herself, she had opened the door of her warm 
Southern heart, and taken in this sister from a 
colder clime, and given her sweet welcome. 

** You lovely ladies of the South have the most 
tempting way of giving a little flattery," said Portia, 
with a laugh. '' One feels like believing all those 
nice little sugar-coated things, and swallowing them 
whole." 

" I am not the only one who thinks so." Kather- 
ine glanced at John significantly. He was giving 
directions to a carpenter whom he had brought in. 
Mrs. Marshall crossed the room, and stood near him 
talking with Judson Chaplain. 

" Oh, don't," said Portia, instinctively looking at 
her. 

" Miss Van Ostade, come here and see how this 
will do," called John. 

" You come too, Miss Wells, please," said Portia, 
rising.' 

Marguerite sat in a window near her aunt, un- 
usually quiet for her, tying little pink and blue 
22 



338 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

pencils to the dainty programme cards which Mrs. 
Barry and Miss Katherine had gotten up the day 
before. Hanford stood beside her. It was the first 
opportunity he had had to speak with her, and his 
hand trembled a little as he took up one of the 
cards. 

*' May I mark on this? " he asked. 

" Yes, but our supply is very limited. I warn 
you, if you spoil this, you can't have another for 
this evening." 

Mr. Held entered as she spoke, and walked 
directly to her. " Ah, so this is what you are do- 
ing? Glad to see you recovered, Miss McLourie. 
Was it my thoughtlessness in keeping you sitting so 
long that caused the headache?" He knelt at her 
feet and began to tie in the pencils. 

" Oh, not so ! You don't do it right," she cried, 
taking the card from him. 

*^ Teach me, then. You can teach me anything. 
What are you up to, Mr. Clark? Securing your 
dances beforehand? That is not fair." 

Hanford laughed. " Fair or not, I am aware that 
you have been ahead of me," and seeing he could 
not talk with Marguerite then, he walked away. 

As Katherine and Portia crossed the long room in 
answer to John's summons, Portia felt something 
under her foot, and stooping, picked up a handker- 
chief, — a dainty bit of linen, lace, and embroidery, 
which she had seen in Mrs. Marshall's hand a 
moment before. 

" I believe this is yours," she said, handing it to 
her; but Mrs. Marshall seemed to6 engrossed in 
what she was saying to heed the gentle remark, so 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 339 

Mr. Chaplain took it. As Portia turned toward 
John, she heard his mother say, — 

"Thanks, you may toss it out of the window; it 
has been under her feet." 

A shade of pallor passed over Portia's face. John 
flushed, and Judson Chaplain hesitated. 

" Give it to me," said Marguerite. " It is too 
pretty to throw away," and she tucked it in her belt. 
Her aunt lifted her eyebrows and her shoulders 
simultaneously, and turning addressed John, — 

** What are you contriving now," she asked 
carelessly, *' that requires so much consulting 
over?" 

John could not trust himself to speak, and turning 
strode angrily away. 

** We must work at those garlands, oh, we never 
will get through," said Miss Katherine, with con- 
summate tact, really carrying the impression that 
she had heard nothing. She circled her arm about 
Portia's waist, and drew her back to her seat among 
the vines. 

** Shall you weah lilac this evening? It is your 
coloh in the daytime, but at night you should weah 
pink oh pale green." 

" I suppose I ought, but it does n't matter. I may 
have to spend my time looking after the refresh- 
ments, you know. I have been saving Lucy steps 
all day, so I can bring her, and Maggie will come 
also, and I think — " 

*' Let's settle the question of the dress first. Yes- 
tahday, when you sent me to your wahdrobe for the 
apron, I saw just the thing I want to see you in. It 
is a pale green." 



340 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Oh, that? I have had it two years. I call it my 
relique. It is a Paris gown, and was saved from the 
fire by being out of town at my aunt's. It is horri- 
bly out of style." 

Katherine laughed. *' Only two yeahs old, why, 
it is brand new. Yu should heah how old the dress 
is that I must weah." 

** Ah, but you can't help appearing well dressed. 
You would be quaint and fascinating in anything. 
To prove it, there is Mr. Held looking at you this 
minute, — thinking of putting you in a picture." 

Miss Katherine did not look at him. " He has a 
way of doing so, I imagine. Yu will weah the green, 
won't yu? " 

" Yes, and it is very sweet of you to care what I 
wear. Perhaps I can modernize it a little." 

" If yu ah not dead aftah all this, won't yu come 
ovah and sing tue ma, like you did last week? It 
brightens her life. She loves tu heah yu sing." 

Dear Miss Katherine ! Portia should not be al- 
lowed to think on the affront she had just received, 
and borne so bravely; and yet it was not wholly the 
sweet courtesy of the Southern woman that prompted 
her. Had Portia been able to look deep into the 
heart of her sister of the South, she would have found 
herself linked by a subtile chain of love to the gal- 
lant young soldier who had fought and died in the 
Confederate army, but who sat enthroned in his sis- 
ter's heart. For Donald loved John and John loved 
Portia ; so Miss Katherine covered the wound with 
a gentle touch, that helped to bring healing, and as 
Portia looked into her eyes, she thought, in spite of 
the stab she had just received from one of them, 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 341 

"These Southern women are the truest and sweetest 
in the world," and perhaps she was right. 

John had hardly left the room when Lord Chester- 
field, the barber, appeared. He had come, he said, 
to inquire for the lady who was looking for experi- 
enced waiters for the evening, and to ask if his wife 
might be employed for the occasion. Chas was 
gotten up faultlessly, in the neatest of clothing and 
the whitest of linen, and being as white, if not whiter 
than old Clarissa herself, with his thick, silken black 
hair, his small black mustache, his large eyes and 
pallid face, he made a picture that was striking, al- 
most handsome, as he stood with a deference that 
amounted to pomposity, talking to Portia. 

Certainly, Miss Van Ostade would see his wife, — 
she was right here, would Miss Van Ostade '* be so 
kind as please to excuse him?" He disappeared, 
and reappeared, bringing Mrs. Lord Chesterfield 
Marshall, nee Louisa Ann Williams of Asheville, 
with skin as soft as satin and black as night, trim of 
figure, supple of waist, large of mouth, and hair of 
the tightest crimp. Surely Chas had done well. 
Louisa Ann was strong, capable, and thrifty, — a 
rare combination in one of the rising generation. 
But how was this? Was he not courting Miss 
Gabriella Gunn a short time since, with all the ar- 
dor of his passionate soul? Yes, and with such 
success that she had promised, by all the stars in 
heaven, to be true. The day and hour were set, 
the wedding feast prepared at his own cost, and the 
guests invited to partake of the same, when, lo ! 
early in the morning, ere the dew was dry upon 
the leafy spray, looking from the window of his 



342 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

parlor, he saw the jewel of his heart, leaning on the 
arm of his hated rival, enter the humble dwelling 
of the colored minister and carpenter. Sending a 
small boy to peep through the crack of the door, he 
learned that they were at that same instant becom- 
ing man and wife. Was his heart a crumbling heap 
of ruins? Not at all. Wise in his own generation, 
he had other strings to his bow. The question 
he had found in his cupidity hard to decide, had 
been decided for him. He would marry Louisa 
Ann Williams and her three hundred dollars. 

He quietly boarded the train, sped to Asheville, 
was married, and returned to Patterson the same 
evening with his lithe and dusky bride upon his 
arm, — the " diamonds " sparkling in her ears and 
on her bosom, that he had bought her to show Miss 
Gunn what she had lost by her rash act, — in time 
to assist in disposing of the wedding feast, and in 
the enjoyment of the " possom " which Nancy Gunn 
knew so well how to prepare. Thus was Miss Gunn 
outwitted, and her practical joke outjoked, so to 
speak, for ''the weasel was not caught asleep." But 
Gabriella, conscious of her own superior charms, 
sighed not for the " diamonds." She asserted that 
she had promised to be Mrs. Marshall, and she had 
kept her word, and Louisa Ann was quite satisfied 
with the distinction of owning the "diamonds " and 
the beau of the village. 

Yes, Miss Van Ostade would accept of Louisa 
Ann's services, and she might begin at once, as 
there was much to do. Mrs. Marshall was moving 
languidly from window to window with her lor- 
gnette, looking at the views, and listening to Judson 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 343 

descant in praise of the location, the architect, the 
enterprise, the place, and all that filled his generous, 
sanguine heart. Mrs. Barry and Miss Keller had 
arrived with more programmes, Hanford was assist- 
ing Portia and Katherine with the garlands, and 
Mrs. Barry joined them. 

** Let me help here," she said ; " I have worked at 
those programmes till I am sick of them." 

Marguerite still sat demurely tying in pencils, 
with Mr. Held at her feet, awkwardly assisting. 
Miss Keller attached herself to them. 

" You see," she addressed herself to Mr. Held, 
" we had no cards, so Mrs. Barry made these out 
of her stiff water-color paper. Was n't she clever? " 

" Water-color paper ! Does she paint? " 

** Oh, she told me not to mention it on my 
life. She was afraid you would ask to see her 
sketches." 

** Does she sketch? better still. I will ask to see 
them." 

At this point the barber reappeared, bringing his 
bride for Portia's inquisition. Marguerite looked 
up. She had not noticed him before. Her eyes 
danced with a mischievous light. Here was a 
chance to punish her aunt for her unkind thrust 
at Portia a moment since. 

" Aunt Isabel, come here quick. Look ! there 
is your nephew, old Pedro Manuelo's son. Why 
don't you go and greet him? How did he get 
away up here, I wonder ! " 

Mrs. Marshall's face lighted as Marguerite began 
her speech, and she put up her lorgnette and gazed 
down the length of the room half expectantly. 



344 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"Why, it's — "she made a quick step forward, 
then dropped her glasses in disgust. 

** Why, it 's — certainly, the distinguished Patter- 
son barber," Marguerite mocked, in a low voice, 
and then laughed out a clear ringing laugh that 
echoed through the great vault of the room, in 
which they all joined. Even her aunt found it not 
to be resisted and laughed also. 

*' Marguerite, you are irrepressible, and your 
fun, my dear, is a little too broad." 

" I know, aunt, but it was really dramatic. A start 
forward, an eager look, in another moment you would 
have clasped him in your arms. You can see," she 
said, turning to the rest, " how strong the resem- 
blance must be to deceive Aunt Isabel so." 

" You can see how prone youth is to make fun 
of the infirmities of age," said her aunt, tapping 
Marguerite's cheek playfully. One of her strongest 
passions was her love for this child, amounting 
almost to idolatry, superseding even her love for 
her son. With her indomitable will, she had de- 
termined John should marry her, if she had to kill 
all possible rivals, and drag them to the altar in 
chains. 

" She helps my old eyes to deceive me, and then 
laughs at me. Likeness indeed ! Your cousin 
is~" 

** But he is n't my cousin, you know, aunt." 

*' My brother's son is tall, handsome, a verit- 
able Apollo, — and to compare him with this nigger 
fop ! " She put up her glasses and scrutinized him 
sharply. " He was a dandy from the time he was 
able to strut on two feet. It was your father, 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 345 

Marguerite, who dubbed him Lord Chesterfield, and 
poor old Clarissa did not know any more than to 
have him baptized by the whole name." 

'' Watch him. Even the way he moves his hands 
is like. Why, aunt, the Patterson barber might / 
pass for your brother's son's twin brother," and 
Marguerite heaved a profound sigh. 

" Marguerite, what freak possesses you this 
morning? " 

*' It is nothing, aunt, only I was so reminded of 
poor Pedro. You see," she turned to the rest, 
" there is young Pedro and old Pedro ; and young 
Pedro always makes love to me when we are in 
Cuba." 

*' I don't doubt it," said the artist. 

" Love-making is his business, and he is very 
systematic about it. He has reduced it to a fine 
art. In his system, there are three stages. First 
he passes my window, spies me, starts back, lingers 
a moment, throws a kiss toward the lattice, presses 
his hand to his heart, and rides madly away. This 
is the beginning and the end, with a few more 
such scenes, and a rose or two thrown in, of the 
first stage." 

''Who throws the roses?" asked Judson. 

'' Oh, any one, possibly Clare. She makes aunt 
any amount of trouble. Then at dusk he comes to 
my window and sings of his love and his despair. 
I drop him my handkerchief on which I have 
written, ' We are watched. O Pedro, beware ! ' 
That with one or two more evenings of music, 
tender and despairing, finishes the second stage. 
At last he calls on my aunt and asks for my hand, 



346 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

— which she refuses — he becomes eloquent — 
she remains obdurate — I weep — he implores — 
she is firm — he becomes enraged and dashes from 
her presence swearing to end immediately his 
miserable existence — and — then we usually take 
our departure northward, and he begins business 
with renewed ardor in some other direction, and 
the next time we come down, he repeats the same 
routine with few variations. Indeed, they are not 
needed." 

** I think I should wish for a little more variety," 
said Miss Keller. 

** Oh, yes ; you would, but then you are an 
American, you know. Poor Pedro, it is time he 
retired from business. Perhaps I would better 
marry him next time, aunt." 

" You are chattering far too much. You would 
better go back. I am tired of waiting for you." 

** Oh, yes. Poor aunt, I know you must be tired. 
There are only a few more to tie ; I will leave those 
to you and Mr. Held, if you will be so kind. Miss 
Keller." 

Mr. Held looked at his watch. '* I think I 
must — " 

*' Oh, you surely are not going to desert me," 
said Miss Keller; so he remained, to the amuse- 
ment of one, the delight of another, and the chagrin 
of himself. 

Hanford accompanied them to the carriage, 
scarcely speaking. He handed them in, bowed, and 
turned toward the station. He had been unable 
to say a word more to Marguerite, but his eyes were 
eloquent, when for a single glance they met hers. 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 347 

"What a silent fellow ! An odd stick, I am afraid," 
said Mrs. Marshall. " I can't imagine what ever 
John sees to so admire in him. He did very well 
as a professional man in New York, but to come 
down to being a station agent in a miserable little 
hole like this — " 

" He lost his health there, you know, Aunt Isabel." 

*' I heard him say he was perfectly recovered the 
other day. Why does n't he go back, and take up 
his work again instead of being an employee down 
here? These college wonders are sure to drop out 
of sight sooner or later." 

*' I would gladly tell you, aunt, but you see I am 
not supposed to be his confidante." 

" So you have n't renewed the flirtation you began 
on the steamer, then? Wonders will never cease." 

" Aunt ! With a station agent ! Do you think 
all your education has quite gone for nothing? 
Now you suggest it, I think I will; it will relieve 
the tedium here." Marguerite leaned back in the 
carriage and closed her eyes. Her aunt thought 
she looked pale. 

" Where were you yesterday when we could not 
find you, Marguerite?" 

" I went to walk." 

"Alone?" 

"Yes, why not?" 

" Oh, my child, whatever will become of you 
when I am taken away from you?" 

" You must n't be taken away from me, aunt. 
You are far too good to me. I do not deserve it." 

Her aunt sighed. " If you would only yield to my 
wishes, I would have nothing more to trouble me.'^ 



34^ When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Marguerite was silent. " Where were you when you 
were not walking? You couldn't have walked all 
the time." 

" I was in Miss Van Ostade's little parlor." 

** In her room? One would think you had chosen 
this young boarding-house keeper for your most 
intimate friend." 

" I thought, aunt, that I would take up the working 
classes for my fad, you know ; and as she is the most 
agreeable of them I have ever met, I have chosen 
her for my bosom friend." 

" Tush ! You know very well she does not belong 
to that class. It is a wretched excuse." 

" Oh, doesn't she? I supposed she did from the 
way you speak of her. Then she must belong to 
the aristocracy." 

" She is a Northern hussy, who has come down 
here to make money out of the poor bleeding South, 
— that's what she is." 

** Do we represent the poor bleeding South? You 
said she was making money out of us, but we seem 
to be quite comfortable." 

" Marguerite, you are very young. You should 
listen to the opinions of those who are really your 
friends, who love you. Sometime I shall be gone, 
and then what will become of you? What will be 
the end of all this vacillation? You will be sur- 
rounded by a horde of vampires, who will feed upon 
you until there is nothing left. It is right that you 
should listen to me. Why do you treat John so 
cruelly? He would protect you, love you devotedly, 
if you would only let him." 

Marguerite laughed. *' Why, aunt, you would n't 



L 



Aunt Isabel Remonstrates 349 

have me go down on my knees and ask him to 
marry me, would you ? If he does n't wish to be 
my protector and all that, am I to blame?" 

" But you avoid him. You never allow him an 
opportunity to be even alone with you." 

" Did n't I spend a whole hour alone with him 
this very morning, in the most earnest kind of 
conversation? " 

"Yes, poor fellow, with his great warm heart! 
He came right to me, and spent his breath in prais- 
ing you. He seemed to have found new reasons for 

admiring you." 

Marguerite was touched. She leaned over and 
patted her aunt's hand. " You have always been 
good to me, aunty dear, and so has John, even if we 
did fight, he and I." 

" Cannot you get over that childish quarrel ? " 
'' Oh, yes. We got over it long ago." 
''I was so happy, so encouraged, this morning, 
and there that girl had to step in between you again ; 
I could have struck her down." 

"Now, Aunt Isabel," said Marguerite, flashing 
quickly, " let 's speak the truth for once and talk 
sense. Miss Van Ostade is beautiful. We know it, 
and what is the use in denying it? Every one in 
the house admires her, and she is good. Now! 
Aunty, I will make you a promise. I will be as 
good to John as I know how, for a week. I will 
ride and walk with him, drive with him, talk with 
him, go over his old hotel with him, and be nice to 
him generally for a whole week, and if at the end of 
that time he has n't seen fit to propose over again, 
why, then, I will do as I please." 



3 50 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

'* And what will you please to do? " 

" Oh," she covered a yawn with her fingers, ** I '11 
do something. I '11 be an American girl out and 
out. I '11 do what I please, without reference to any- 
body on earth, as Miss Keller does. I '11 marry the 
station agent, I beheve, — and live happily ever 
after." 

" Marguerite ! I thought you were going to be 



serious." 



•* I am, aunt, very serious." They were driving 
into the yard now, and Marguerite leaned forward 
and looked into Mrs. Marshall's eyes with a laughing 
light in her own. ** I will tell every one here that 
that nigger fop is the exact counterpart of some 
of your Spanish relatives if you are nasty to Miss 
Van Ostade again," she said. 

Her aunt laughed. ** To think, my dear, that 
you should be so guileless. Can't you see that 
she is like all the rest of her class, ready to toady 
to wealth? I have no patience with you." 



CHAPTER XXV 
PORTIA SINGS THE OLD SONGS 

AFTER Mrs. Marshall's departure, Portia, glad 
to be relieved of the oppressive presence, 
flew about, directing Louisa Ann, and rapidly bring- 
ing order out of chaos. John returned, bringing the 
framework on which draperies and garlands were to 
be hung. 

*' Here is the screen for the musicians," he said. 
"What are we to do for lights?" asked Mrs. 

Barry. 

** We have a gas-tank, — it should be tested, 
though," said Judson. *' It might not be fully in 
order. What do you say, John? " 

"Test it by all means, if the fixtures are done." 

" And if it should not work? " said Mrs. Barry. 

" We might bring over lamps from the house," 
said Portia. 

" We shall task you for nothing more," said John. 
" Hanford can loan us some head-lights." 

" Miss McLourie promised to send the carriage 
back," said Portia. " I wonder what time it is ! 
Think of my running away, with forty boarders. I 
must go home." 

Katherine laughed. " Youh speaking of youh 
forty boarders makes me think of the ' Forty 
thieves.' Now tell me, did you run away with 

351 



352 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

them, or have they run away with you ? " But 
Portia was already at the farther end of the room. 

" Oh, we run away with her," said Mrs. Barry. 
**We are never satisfied unless she is with us. She 
must plan for us, sing to us, get up costumes for our 
charades, talk to us, — do you know how well she 
converses ? She has no invalids now to look after, 
luckily, except her mother, and she is the sweetest 
woman on earth." 

" Mamma is no invalid now," said Portia, return- 
ing. " She is much stronger. She takes all the 
responsibility of the lunches for me. That is how I 
can run away like this." 

" The carriage is here," said John, and they all 
went out, leaving the great room in charge of the 
capable Louisa Ann. 

" Oh, I must say a word more to the bride," said 
Portia, running back. " Don't wait; I will be right 
out." 

When she returned she found John waiting alone, 
standing beside a beautiful little trap, and Brown 
Betty in the harness. 

" See what I have done," he cried gleefully. '' I 
have sent them all on. Miss Katherine and all. I 
brought her over in this, and now I am going to 
take you back in it, and have you one whole delicious 
hour all to myself. It is only half after eleven." 

*' John, you have outwitted me," she said in dis- 
may, looking after the carriage as it disappeared 
around the corner of the notion store. 

'* Yes, and now I have you in a trap," he said, 
lifting her in. She laughed merrily at the foolish 
pun, as he settled himself beside her. 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 353 

" What a beautiful little rig ! and, John, what a 
man you are ! " 

" The first time we ever drove together, we had 
the Gebbs* buggy and the little gray pony, and it 
was Mr. Russell who was outwitted. Dick Button 
told me they drove on for a joke, because he was 
contriving to be left behind for the sake of being 
left alone to drive with you." Portia gave a radiant 
glance into his face, but said nothing. ** Poor 
fellow ! He wanted the seat beside you. I wanted 
it too, and it fell to me," he added gently, " and it is 
mine forever." He looked into her eyes, and the 
light in hers was his only answer. " Do you notice 
what I am doing, having your little horse trained to 
drive? Come, Brownie, pick up your feet. She is 
lazy, it is so warm. I shall get the nobbiest little 
turnout in New York for you, and — " 

" You are far too good to me, John. You must n't 
do these things." 

" Must n't I ? And why not ? " 

" Can't you see how it is hurting your mother, 
that you — that we are loving each other? I felt 
abashed, humiliated in the dust." 

His eyes flashed with the fire of anger. " Even 
my mother is not precious to me when she strikes 
at you. She knew she had me in her power, that 
before all those others I could say nothing." He 
bit his lip to keep back the torrent of words too 
bitter for him to utter. 

" I did n't feel bitter, John, because you, with 

your great loving heart, bore the blow for me. I 

forgot it was me she struck as I saw you walk away. 

I am going to talk a little plain common-sense, to 

23 



354 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

make a speech, and you (to pay for running away 
with me) must Hsten in patience. We may not 
have the chance to have a good, quiet, serious talk 
again for days, you know." 

They had turned into a road leading through pine 
forest, where the shadows were heavy and cool, 
and the air full of resinous fragrance. John drew 
the little horse down to a walk, and her hoofs fell 
on the carpeted path as if she trod on velvet. 
He placed his hand on Portia's with a touch that 
thrilled through her nerves like wine. ** I will 
listen to you," he said, with a happy laugh, *' as 
long as you keep to the common-sense, but if you 
utter a word of sophistry, I will not listen to you, 
no, not even if you sing it." 

She would have withdrawn her hand, but, with 
an impulse that carried her beyond her reserve 
she lifted his. to her lips and kissed it. *' It is 
hard to say the plain reasonable things to you I 
ought. Your loving intoxicates me. You have 
entered into my heart, — into my very soul." She 
paused, and he bent forward and looked into her 
eyes. They swam in tears. 

" So deep and true," he said, ** will they always 
shine for me like this? " 

She turned her face away. '' John, don't make 
it so hard for me to say what I ought. I want 
first to make you understand how I love you, — 
but if I do that, I can never go any further." 

*' That is far enough. Come, I will listen to that 
forever, and there shall be no end." 

" Love, that is born of the highest, should cast no 
shadow on any human soul," she paused, and he 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 355 

was silent. ** Ours," she continued, " brings unhap- 
piness to the one of all others whom you should 
not hurt. Because she is your mother, she shall 
be dear to me. Ought we not to put aside our 
own wishes? What shall we do?" Still he was 
silent. ** Is it right that in our loving we should 
hurt another? Think what it must be to her. She 
is being crossed in everything. Oh, John, if I, 
who have known you so short a time, love you 
as I do, what must you be to her? I felt this 
morning as if I must kneel to her and beg for 
forgiveness, or else to be taken into her heart 
with you. Why couldn't you have done as she 
wished so long ago, before ever you knew me? 
If you had loved that beautiful girl, — how could 
you help doing so, — then your mother would have 
been happy; but now she hates me because I 
have come between her and her dearest wishes, 
and all her lifelong prejudices weigh against me. 
There is a wrong somewhere." 

*^ Portia — " 

" Ought we not to, at least, cover up this love, 
set it aside, perhaps for years, if need be?" 

*' No, no, no ! I say no ! Portia." 

'' But can we, even for the greatest good that 
could come to us, can we ride over your mother's 
heart?" 

" I tell you, Portia, this is sophistry. Love and 
respect I owe my mother, and honor; but when 
a man has reached my age, even his mother has 
no right to rule over his spirit. Some things are 
sacred even from her interference, and only to his 
God is he answerable. No power on earth shall 



356 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

take you from me, Portia. — Dearest, dearest, take 
your hands from your face, and say the words with 
me. Say them. No power on earth shall take you 
from me." 

" Oh, John, if I could feel in my heart that it is 
right." 

*' Then feel it in my heart, Portia, for I know. As 
I hold you now, so shall it be forever. My heart 
shall be the nearest to your own. If I could, I 
would hold you with an irresistible power, — but 
I cannot. It is you who hold me so, although 
you do not know it. Now will you say the words 
with me? No power on earth — " 

" When I have earned the right, John. I will 
set myself with all my heart to win your mother 
to love me, if only a little, and then, I promise you, 
I will put away all personal pride, I will accept 
from you all, all ! when I am able only to give 
my poor self to you." 

"Your bountiful, beautiful self. I would give up 
all I have on earth rather than lose you." 

" Wait, John," she placed her hand over his lips, 
''don't say those things — I have asked you so 
many times — until I have earned them — until I 
am really yours." 

" We never earn anything in this world, Portia. 
I have never earned your love, but I have it." 

They were both silent for a time. At last John 
broke the spell. " And when is all this to be fin- 
ished? It cannot go on forever, — when will you 
say of yourself, I am really his?" 

She drew herself up, and looked in his face with 
the clear, steady light in hers that seemed to him 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 357 

always like inspiration. "You recall me to earth 
again," she said, taking his hand with gentle firm- 
ness. " There ! now drive with both hands." He 
obeyed. *' I have a bright idea," she said after 
another moment's silence. ** To be sure of the 
right from some other source than your — Love 
is bhnd, you know, and you may be blinded — I 
know you are, from some things you have said in 
the last few minutes. No. I say you must drive 
with both hands." 

''And I say, I need but one. Go on with your 
bright idea." 

*' Please, John, I will not let you blind me also. 
There, hold the lines, so, — and here is the whip, 
hold it too. Now listen. I am going to sing for 
your beautiful old friend to-morrow. I feel that 
those whose eyes are closed to the world around 
them have clearer spiritual insight than we have, 
and that is what we need now, you and I. I could 
talk with grandfather, or my own sweet mother, 
but they are both too nearly interested through 
their love for me, and the pride I told you of. 
Mrs. Wells will be able to be just, and if anything 
will be influenced the other way, through the old- 
time prejudices, you know, — but I think she is so 
near heaven that even these may have slipped from 
her." 

" What if she decides against me?" 

" We will wait." 

"But if she says forever? That would be an 
earthly power coming between us. No, I cannot 
consent to that." 

" Are you sure it would be of this world?" 



358 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

•' You may do it, if you will sivg to her first." 

" I may not be able to sing for her afterwards." 

" Very well, then I am safe. Only then she may 
say I am not good enough for an angel." 

"John! don't be absurd." 

"If she decides for me, then what will you do? 
Will you consider it then as a voice from heaven? " 

She did not reply immediately, and he felt her 
agitation. "See," he said, " how nicely I can man- 
age the little horse with one hand. Now what will 
you do? " 

" What if — I should not be able to put this mat- 
ter to her in such a way as not to influence her?" 
she said in an anxious voice. 

" Portia," he said softly, " you are hardly of the 
earth yourself, my beautiful. I only fear your ab • 
normal conscience will not let you be fair to my 
cause. Let me put it to her." 

" You know you could not do it, John." She 
freed herself from his touch as before. " You must 
not hold me like this, no. But I promise you, if I 
can lay our case before her in a plain enough way, 
bare of all my heart might plead for you or for me, 
that I will take her answer as a voice from heaven. 
What are you doing, John?" 

"Turning around." 

" I know, but are n't you going to take me 
home.?" 

" Not now. I am going to take you to her." 

" But they will be at lunch.", 

" That is nothing. What is eating? I heard you 
say at the hotel, you were not needed at home at 
this hour, — go with me. I can make it all right 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 359 

with Katherine, and her mother will think nothing 
of it. How can I eat or sleep or rest, if you are 
going to abide by this, until I know? No, I am 
only arranging the cover; see, I am obedient. But 
if I may not touch you, nor even speak what my 
heart prompts to you, I will look at you and think 
what thoughts I please." 

So once more her lover had his way, and led her 
up to the blind woman's door just as they were 
about to sit down to the lunch table. "Will you 
let two starving fellow-mortals eat with you ? " he 
called cheerily. " I brought Miss Van Ostade here 
against her will, or rather, at my own will, to — to 
— sing for your mother." 

Miss Katherine was delighted. '' It is really like 
the old days ah here again, John," she said ; " when 
people just happened in at any time, and we always 
had company at meals. Ma, here is Miss Van 
Ostade. John brought her to sing for you after 
lunch." 

" A case of little Tommy Tucker, — only I get 
my supper first and sing afterwards," said Portia. 

"And you are just in time, my dear," said the 
blind woman, warmly. There was a little tremor in 
Portia's hands when she clasped them in both her 
own, and when she took John's arm as he led her out 
to the table (she always looked for him to lead her 
out to meals when he was with them), she noticed 
the same tremor there. 

"Why does your arm tremble?" she said, so 
quietly that only he heard her. 

"Does it? I am a little tired, perhaps. I have 
been driving, you know." 



360 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Does driving make you tired, a great strong fel- 
low like you?" She placed her other hand on his, 
and knew in an instant that the tremor came from 
his heart, and that she was treading on forbidden 
ground. She turned her sightless eyes toward him 
as though she could read the lines of his face, and 
was silent ; but for him, he was even more tender 
of her than usual, as he gently placed her in her 
chair, and lifted her in it with his strong arms to the 
table. 

After lunch Portia sang, while the old lady, lean- 
ing back in her chair, closed her eyes and listened. 
She sang all the songs she could remember, both 
grave and gay, and John, seated in the doorway, 
with his hands clasped about his knees, listened also. 
Miss Katherine was busied with her household 
cares. '' Ma" was happy, and she was content. 

" I have sung all the songs I know without my 
music," said Portia at last. 

"Ah, don't stop yet. Sing them over again," 
said the blind woman. 

*' I will sing some of these," said Portia, selecting 
from the music lying on the piano some of the 
songs that had stirred the hearts of the boys in gray 
to deeds of heroic courage and even of desperation. 
She began one. 

'* Don't sing that," said John, entering and laying 
hold of the music. 

*'Yes, let her. It is good of you, Miss Van 
Ostade. I long to hear the old songs once 



more." 



(( 



And I am not singing for you, Mr. Marshall. 
You brought me here to sing for her," 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 361 

" Yes, sir, and if you do not like them, you can 
go back North again," said his old friend, with a 
laugh. 

He gave one imploring look, but still Portia sang 
the old songs, and he strolled out and sat on the 
ofarden seat where he had sat with Miss Katherine, 
on that day when the voice he heard now had begun 
to sing a new song in his heart. ** Yes," he said to 
himself, '' I loved her before I saw her, when I sat 
in the dark, and she sang to me." 

When Portia finished, she turned and saw the 
blind woman leaning back in her chair with closed 
eyelids, but two tears had escaped, and trembled, 
one on either cheek. Then Portia went quickly 
and knelt at her feet, and taking one of the dear old 
hands, so soft and white, in hers, she kissed it. 
" Forgive me," she said, '' for bringing the past 
before you and making you sad." 

" The sadness is only the remembrance of sorrow 
that is gone, dear, and the dawn and the opening 
of the eyes is before me," she placed her hand on 
Portia's head. " Bless you, daughter of the North, 
and thank you. I love sweet music; and a sweet 
voice ; but in singing the old songs of the boys in 
gray, you have sung your way deeper into my 
heart. What have I to forgive?" 

Then Portia bowed her head under the gentle 
touch, and opened her heart to its very depths, to 
the clear seeing of the blind woman's spirit, and 
there was silence for a few moments, until Portia 
spoke again imploringly, — 

" Tell me what is right. You are wise and true. 
You see into heaven, as you sit here with your eyes 



362 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

closed to all earthly sights. I have promised John 
I will abide by what you say. Can love be right 
when it hurts another? Can we call it God-given 
when his mother is cut to the heart by it? An- 
swer these questions for me, — I am afraid of 
them." 

*' This is a grave question to lay upon me, 
daughter." She drew Portia closer to her side, and 
placing one hand on her face, touched her lightly, 
tracing the contour of her features. " Let me know 
you this way. I think — " she went on slowly, as 
Portia turned her face toward her, giving herself 
into her hands, *' I think it is a beautiful face, and I 
should judge to find here a beautiful soul, as the 
voice that interprets it to me is beautiful. Why 
should he not love you?" 

*' Because his mother hates me. She has the old- 
time prejudices, and — she had hoped for another 
choice for him. She is frail, she loves him so, — and 
she is his mother. I have a sense of guilt when I 
think of the pain we are inflicting. And yet — this 

— that has come to me — " she covered her face 
with her hands, '' I have let you see into my heart, 

— how can I put it from me ? But if it is right, I 
must. What is right, should be to us as necessity. 
If she never can be won to love me — you had — 
you must have had the same prejudices, the hatred 
of us of the North that she has, you too lost 
your dearest, more even than she. I sang those 
songs because I wished — you are so far above 
most of us — I wished to awaken the old spirit in 
you if it might be sleeping, and then ask you to 
judge, with that in your heart, as if John were your 



Portia Sings the Old Songs 363 

own. Could you love me then, and take me as 
John's wife? Could you be content, and say, * it 
is right '? " 

''That way of judging might satisfy your con- 
science, but the emotional way would not be the 
right way. You wish to put it to the severest test, 
but let us be reasonable. You are of good family, 
are you not? " 

" Yes," said Portia, lifting her head quickly, '* and 
without stain. My father was of Dutch ancestry, 
from one of the best families in New York. My 
mother is descended from a noble Puritan family, of 
pure English strain; they were ladies and gentle- 
men, statesmen and scholars, of noble birth. I am 
proud of my heredity, if I do — " 

" It is not what you do ; it is what you are. We 
have learned that lesson here in the South. I see 
no reason why she should be bitter toward you. 
The wrong is on her side. John has the right to 
choose. A man cannot be always subservient to 
his parents, — he could not be and be a man. His 
mother should respect his manhood." 

Portia rose and stood at the window. She saw 
John pacing the garden-paths, and turning impetu- 
ously she knelt again at the blind woman's feet. 
*' Put your hands on my head once more, and bless 
me," she said. " I must go to him and tell him 
quickly; you are right, if I love him, I must put 
him first. First of all, he must stand in my heart," 
and once again the old hands were laid on her head 
in blessing. 

Then Portia rose, and bending over the old lady's 
chair kissed her, and hurried away. She sought 



364 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

for Katherine at the far end of the house, where 
the stores were kept. 

" I am going," she called, with a ring of joy in 
her voice ; '' don't come, I will see you this evening. 
Good-bye." 

" Good-bye," called Katherine ; " weah the pretty 
green, remembah." 

'* Surely I will," said Portia, and was gone. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE OLD DAYS REVIVED 

YES, truly, past days were being revived with 
a spirit which seemed to combine the rich, 
rare flavor of the old with the sparkle and energy 
of the new. Miss Katherine felt the thrill of 
pleasure that had tingled through her nerves in 
other days as she heard the first long-drawn chords 
and high thread-like tones of the viols and violins. 
The musicians behind the flowery screen were get- 
ting their instruments in tune, and the sounds of 
scraping and thrumming caused a delicious sense 
of anticipation to pervade the place, and formed a 
vague background of tones for the flutter and buzz 
and hum of fans and soft voices and laughter and 
ceaseless moving of many feet. 

Portia stood near Katherine and Mrs. Judson 
Chaplain, who were making the introductions be- 
tween the old element and the new. John was busy 
here, there, and everywhere. Elated with a trans- 
forming happiness, he heard the congratulations of 
his friends and their praises of his work, the good he 
was accomplishing, and the new life he had brought 
to the place, as if the words were uttered in his 
dreams. Sometimes his eyes wandered toward the 
group near the door and rested on Portia's face. 
Was she ever so beautiful before.^ Possibly not. 
Since her talk with the blind woman she had re- 

365 



366 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

signed herself to the love which had set lights in 
her eyes, and kindled the fire within her which was 
to illumine her spirit as the sun illumines the day 
that follows such a dawn. Sometimes his eyes 
rested for a moment on his mother as she stood 
with Marguerite at her side, frailer, more spirit- 
like than ever. Her eyes glowed as she listened 
to the praises of her son, like living coals from 
among the ashen hues of her whitening hair, and 
her filmy, wreathing laces of white and black. 
Her draperies swept the floor with a silken swish, 
and her fine slender hands held a heavy feather fan, 
that seemed, as it moved, to shed an odor of sandal- 
wood and musk about her. 

Portia looked around her with amazement. Where 
had they all come from, — • these guests with soft 
voices and graceful ways, clad in quaint, old lus- 
trous garments with odd garniture of laces, or in 
simple, dainty muslins.? 

Though all were in excellent taste, she noticed 
that the newest costumes were of cheap materials, 
while those of rich and elegant fabric were of 
antique shape and odd device. It was like the 
awakening of the sleeping beauty in the wood, — 
where all the lords and ladies who had slept with 
her awakened with her and went about in their rare 
old costumes, unconscious of the changes wrought 
by the years, and mingling with the courtiers and 
retainers of the prince in their modern dress, blend- 
ing thus the old and the new. Where had they 
come from, all these spirits of the old life? Had 
some magician waved his wand and called them 
out of the past ? Yes, a wave of sympathetic feel- 



The Old Days Revived 367 

ing from the North had swept in among them, 
and Hope had come with beckoning finger, saying, 
" Wake all ye that sleep, for the dawn of a new era 
is at hand," and the new South had arisen to meet 
it, — these spirits had obeyed the call. They had 
gone to their chests and presses and taken out their 
beautiful garments, so long unused, and many a 
quaint article of jewelry, and arrayed in these, they 
had gone forth to meet the " Spirit of the age." 

Portia, gazing on the scene, felt this. Many of 
the faces around her seemed beautiful with a chas- 
tened kind of beauty, — the fineness of gold that has 
been tried by fire, — and the lines of a past sorrow 
still remained, illuminated by the pleasure of the 
moment, into a subtle, pathetic kind of loveliness 
like that in the face of Miss Katherine as she stood 
before her. 

Katherine was clad in a pale yellow satin bro- 
caded with a faint pattern of hyacinths in pinks, 
lavenders, and slender leaves of soft greens. It 
was covered over the bodice with rare old lace, and 
frills of the same fell over her hands. Originally 
it had been made with wide skirt, to fall over 
spreading hoops; but now the ample folds, falling 
in straight lines to the floor, and only slightly 
looped to give the prevailing panier effect of the 
day, made the garment far more artistic than in 
its original style. 

"Isn't it charming.'*" said Marguerite to her 
aunt. Mrs. Marshall was at that moment gazing 
intently and scrutinizingly at Chas, who was 
moving up and down the great hall without, in 
all the grandeur of his faultless attire, performing 



368 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

duties as usher. "I don't mean the barber, aunt," 
she said, with dancing eyes. " Look this way. I 
mean Miss Katherine's dress." 

" Ah, yes. We do not have such goods nowa- 
days. " She lifted her lorgnette and carefully looked 
at the gown in question. "And if I remember 
rightly her mother wore that gown to your mother's 
wedding." 

^' Oh, Aunt Isabel ! How can you remember the 
particular stuff of which a particular gown was 
made all these years on years.'*" said Marguerite, 
in an awed voice. "That is like a fairy tale." 

"Why, child, you are not so very old; and it 
was only a year after that I held you in my arms, 
and John stood at my knee, a little fellow in long 
curls, and kissed your baby fingers. I made up 
my mind then that you should one day be my 
daughter. Now, for this evening, remember your 
promise, Marguerite. There he is now, looking at 
you." 

Marguerite was touched. "Oh, aunty, aunty, 
why did you .-* Yes, I will remember; " but in her 
heart she said, "Oh, if my mother had only lived, 
if she had only lived ! " 

John was looking at her, and now he came to her 
side. " My little cousin looks prettier than ever 
to-night," he said, glancing her over admiringly. 
There was a tender note in his voice which pleased 
her, coming from him, giving her no alarm. " Give 
me your programme. Are there any dances left 
for me.? Ah, I am just in time. They are nearly 
all taken." 

" Yes, I have been reckless. I have given any- 



The Old Days Revived 369 

body as many dances as were asked for. Put your 
name down for all that are left. I am tired and 
can more easily refuse you, you know." 

"You look pale. I 'm thinking you ought not to 
dance much, brave little sister." 

"Did she tell you to call me that.? " 

"Who.?" 

"You know. She is always to call me sister. 
She said so. Come over here and sit down a 
minute. I want to tell you something. I have 
promised your mother I will be just as nice to you 
as possible for a — whole week, and I want you to 
help me." 

"With all my heart — little sister. Hello, here 
comes some one who would like to be in my shoes 
for this week, I guess." She looked up and saw 
Hanford making his entering bows at the door. 

"I don't think he would," she said, looking 
away with a little laugh. 

" Why so ? " 
Oh, because." 

An excellent reason, like most of your reasons." 
Well, if you must know, I think he would 
rather be in his own." 

They both laughed, and Aunt Isabel was pleased 
as she glanced across at them, while she conversed 
with sundry courtly elderly gentlemen who had 
gathered about her. 

" Look at your mother. She is the belle of the 
evening. I '11 wager Captain Milvey is asking her 
to dance with him. Yes, sir, he has her card. 
There is the music! Where is Mr. Held, I won- 
der." 
24 






370 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

**He is coming yonder. Marguerite, did — did 
she say anything else when she told you she should 
call you little sister? What did she say to you? 
What have you told her? " 

"Oh, John, John! Poor Aunt Isabel! There is 
no use in my being nice to you even for a week. 
How many dances am I to have with you ? Give 
me back my card; you have nearly broken it. 
What! not any? There, take it back and put your 
name down in every vacant place. I want it to 
show to aunt when I get home. Quick! here is 
Mr. Held." 

" You know very well I wanted those dances. I 
had n't had time to look over my own card." 

" Never mind ; put your name down to all that are 
left, and I will let you off the ones you are to dance 
with her. Underline hers and I will remember." 

"Then what will you do? " 

"Me? Oh, I will bestow them on some one who 
would not like to be in your shoes." 

"Be careful what you do, little sister; some 
hearts can be broken." 

"Not men's hearts, John. Yes, yes. I will be 
careful if you will not look at me so. You are a 
good brother. Here, wear this for me." She 
slipped a beautiful Jacqueminot bud from the clus- 
ter in her hand. "There," she said, placing it in 
his coat, " in that is my promise to be good for a 
week, perhaps longer." 

"And I shall hold you to it, little lady." 

"Haven't you one for me also? " said Mr. Held 
as he walked away with her. They were to lead 
the grand march together. 



The Old Days Revived 371 

*'Why, yes, but — why didn't you keep one for 
yourself? Why were you so generous as to give 
them all to me? " 

"Can't you guess why? One bud from your 
hand — thanks. Now it has a value no other flower 
could have." 

" My cousin did not have to ask for his." 

"Very true; but its real value is that put upon 
it by the possessor. It is I who prize it the most." 
But he was wrong, for, months after, John found 
his bud fragrant still, clinging to his evening coat, 
shrivelled and dried, and he placed it among his 
treasures with a tender thought of the little hand 
that had bestowed it, while Mr. Held's had long 
since been thrown from his window and trampled 
under foot. 

"Let me see," he said, looking at his card. "I 
am to have this first one, and then no more until 
the last. What am I to do in the mean time? 
That is an adorable one, — the last ; but have you 
no more for me? " 

"No, my card is full. I think we must start." 

So the ball was fairly opened, and the merriment 
begun. Mrs. Marshall remained long enough to 
become weary. She danced the minuet in honor 
of John's success, with the captain, who vowed she 
had lost none of her youthful graces; she had 
watched John and Marguerite circling together 
over the polished floor; she had been served with 
refreshments by two colonels, the courteous old 
captain and a doctor, all gallant with the stateliness 
of other days ; and she had been carefully placed in 
her carriage by her son, with the compliment that 



372 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

she was really the queen of the evening if she was 
his mother, — ere John had had his first dance with 
Portia. 

*'I thought my one delight of the evening was 
never to come to me," he said, — "our first dance 
together. Think what it means to me." 

Portia smiled, and her lips opened as if to speak; 
but she said nothing, and as the instruments awoke 
with a fresh outburst, they moved off together. 
" You seem to be part of the music, as if I should 
lose you when it stops. If it would only go on 
forever ! " 

"It will for us," she said. "The music of our 
lives is but just begun." 

"Yes, yes. I have my promise now." 

Portia did not speak again. She moved like a 
spirit through the rest of the dance, as if she did 
not touch the floor with her feet. "Come," said 
John at last, — - "come out into the darkness;" and 
they went out on the long veranda where other 
couples were pacing up and down in the moonlit 
spaces. He left her an instant, and, returning 
wrapped her in her soft white shawl. 

" I saw where you put this as you came in, " he said. 

" Do you remember when you wrapped me in it 
first, that evening we drove home together.? " 

" Could I forget .? " 

"You have achieved much since then, John. 
This spot was so bare and ugly when you came, 
and now — " 

"And now how bare and ugly it would still seem 
to me if I had not had my way this morning, — if 
I had not won you ! " 



The Old Days Revived 373 

They walked to the far end of the veranda, and 
stood looking off over the wonderful moonlit 
reaches of billowy hills into the mystery beyond. 
The music of the ballroom on the farther side of 
the building floated out to them, softened by the 
distance, and the rhythmic sound of dancing feet 
and hum of voices seemed to blend and become 
part of it. Soon they were alone, for the prome- 
naders had gone either to dance or to the supper- 
room. Portia, standing in the strong moonlight 
in her filmy draperies, her face pale in the white- 
ness streaming upon her, and revealing its fine 
strength and purity of outline, seemed to be not 
of the earth, indeed. John felt as if he must 
withdraw from her, nor touch her lest she dissolve 
in the glorious light, and slip from him into the 
mysterious distances on which her eyes were fixed. 
She seemed so far above him, so pure and fine, 
could it be that she was really won .^ Could she 
ever be his.-* 

"Portia," he said at last, "what are you think- 



ing 



? " 



She turned toward him with a touch that warmed 
him through with absolute happiness. "I was 
thinking, it seems as if we two were standing on 
the verge of eternity and the world was all behind 
us. Listen to them. Can there possibly be two 
among them all as happy as we.?" 

" No, nor in all the world." His voice was very 

low. 

"I feel," she went on, "as if I had been moving 
in a dream ever since — in an unreal world — " she 
paused. 



374 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

" Ever since when, my beautiful ? " 

" Ever since I came to you out there in Miss 
Katherine's garden, and gave up my pride and my 
scruples, and put you before all else in the world. 
I am so happy, John." 

There was a little quiver in her voice. Ah, it 
was irresistible; and her cheek was warm and 
real, after all; and her draperies, they were 
easily crushed; and she stayed by him, she did 
not slip away into the far-off mysterious night ; 
and for him, he led her back to the world again 
like a prince. 

As Mrs. Marshall alighted at the door of the old 
home, she paused on the threshold and looked out 
over the scene spread before her, — the beautiful 
valley, with its undulating lines and pine-capped 
hills, — the river serenely sleeping under soft veil- 
ing mists, winding like a silver thread among 
them, and all bathed in the wonderful, silent glory 
of light. She drew in a long breath and thought 
of her dearest hopes. The beauty of the scene 
stealing in upon her senses stirred her heart to its 
tenderest mood ; but to her, whose will was her 
law, to love meant to absorb to herself and hold in 
closer grasp; hence the subtle charm of the night 
but served to deepen the intensity of her desires 
and make her dearest hopes seem doubly dear. 

"You may wait a moment, Alexander," she said. 
"Clare will go back with you." 

" Non, non. It is that I must not leave madam 
alone," exclaimed Clare, struggling between her 
secret desire to return and her duty to her mistress. 
"Madam is very weary; I see it," 



The Old Days Revived 375 

"Yes, and I will be asleep soon and will not 
want to' be disturbed. You must return with the 
carriage and see that Marguerite comes home early. 
She was ill yesterday, you know." 

" Oui, madam, mais — " 

" Well, why don't you start ? " 

" Mais, allow me that I assist first madam to her 
bed; then is there yet time." 

" I prefer to be alone. You must go back and 
look after her; that is what I am sending you 
now for. Tell Marguerite that it is my wish that 
she leave early. Mr. Marshall will return with 
her, of course; she is in his charge, but they will 
neither of them think of leaving until it is long 
past time she was here, and in bed." 

"Certainement," said Clare, with a slight shrug. 
" They are young, those children. ' ' Still she hesi- 
tated. 

"Well.?" said her mistress, impatiently. 

" Mais — allow me that I see madam to her room 

seulement." 

"What ails you to-night, Clare? I am capable 

of going to my room alone, am I not ? " 

" Oui, madam, mais votre fils. What is it that 
he will think that I leave madam here alone ? " 

Mrs. Marshall laughed. "Oh, go^ along. You 
know you want to go back yourself." 

So Clare was driven away as her mistress entered 
the house and laid her hand on the old stairway 
railing. The little Juliet was soundly sleeping 
in her mother's room, and Mrs. Van Ostade had 
retired. Mr. Ridgeway had gone down out of the 
kindness of his heart to look in on the festivities, 



376 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

congratulate John and Judson Chaplain, pay his 
respects to the older element there, and see his 
granddaughter home. One servant had been left to 
stand guard, who was quietly dozing in the kitchen. 
The house was all lighted up, but seemed empty 
and silent. Mrs. Marshall paused and looked about 
her at the empty rooms and shadowy spaces. Win- 
dows had been left open, and the cool night air 
filled the house with a sweet freshness, in spite of 
the lighted lamps. The white curtains blew out 
over the smooth drawing-room floor, and the moon 
rays streamed in, making long panels of light. 
She climbed the stairs slowly, and paused again. 

"Why did I ever sell it.?" she said to herself. 
"I used to think I hated the place; but now I 
believe I would rather live here than anywhere 
else, after all." Then she went softly on, as was 
her wont. By the time she reached the top she 
had determined to buy it back again. "I will do 
it, if only to turn out this horde of plunderers," she 
said. 

In her sitting-room a lamp was burning, and 
on the table lay a new novel with an antique 
Roman paper-knife shut in between the leaves. 
She sat down in the large chair beside the table, 
threw back the black lace wrap from her head and 
shoulders, and, taking the book, turned the leaves. 
The light fell strongly on her gray hair and wan 
face, with its subtle, clean-cut lines. Presently 
she laid the book down, folded her hands over her 
great black feather fan, and sat quietly thinking, 
looking into the past, with her brilliant dark eyes 
open to visions of other days. 



CHAPTER XXVII 
A MIDNIGHT VISIT 

OVER the hill, in the moonlight, a figure 
came hobbling toward the old homestead, 
— a woman in a faded cotton gown that looked 
white in the white light, and a white cloth wound 
about her head for a turban. She leaned heavily 
on her stick, and hurried on eagerly and painfully. 
It was old Mammy Clarissa, mumbling to herself a 
half-pleading sort of prayer as she walked. She 
turned in at the arched gateway, and walked up 
the winding drive, her shadow falling sharply out- 
lined on the hard gravelled road. 

"Gabr'ella say as haow dey all gone 'way. I 
'low she '11 be heah. She tu ol' tu be gwine tu de 
dancin' dese days, I reckon. Oh, Lawd, kyan' I 
git tu tell 'er, an' git tu pass.? Lawd, he'p my 
soul ! " 

Laboriously she climbed the steps, and slipping 
off her heavy shoes walked softly in her stocking 
feet. She entered the old dwelling, and stood 
where she had not before since her old mistress 
had left it, after the general had been brought 
home from the field of battle, dead. There, in the 
great room, he had lain in state, his sword at his 
side, his boy far away, and none to mourn but his 
widowed wife and her who had nursed his child. 
Which grief was deeper, — who shall say.-* 

377 



378 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

She climbed the stairs more softly than her mis- 
tress had done a few moments before, carrying her 
stick under her arm and clinging to the railing for 
support. 

"I reckon she '11 be in her ol' room," she mut- 
tered. The door of Mrs. Marshall's apartment stood 
ajar. She pushed it open and entered. Peering 
into the sitting-room beyond, she saw her old mis- 
tress seated in the halo of light, absorbed in her 
reverie. Frail and wan, yet not so greatly changed 
she seemed, since Mammy Clarissa had seen her 
last, only her hair was black then, a heavy silken 
mass falling over her temples. She had always 
been thin, and was always shrouded in laces, as 
now; only now her eyes seemed larger and darker, 
and her hair was gray. Suddenly she leaned for- 
ward, peering into the dimness of her chamber. 
Seeing the figure of the old woman standing there, 
she raised both hands with a quick gesture as if she 
would repel some phantom which she had conjured 
in her waking dream. 

" Who are you ? Go away ! " she said in a sharp, 
frightened tone. 

"Now don' yo' go fo' tu 'sturb yo'se'f. Hit's 
on'y ol' Cl'issy come foh tu hab speech wid yo'." 

" Clarissa, are you dead ? Why do you stand so 
white and still.? Are you alive?" She tried to 
rise, and would have screamed, but could not. The 
old woman took a step nearer, and leaning on her 
stick stood looking down on her. She grasped the 
arms of her chair with both hands, and leaning 
forward gazed into the face of her old slave with 
glittering eyes, like a lioness brought to bay. 



A Midnight Visit 379 

"How dare you come here in this way? You — " 
Her fan slid to the floor, and Clarissa, stooping 
painfully, picked it up and laid it again on her 
knees; but she shook it from her without touching 
it, and again it fell to the floor, sliding down 
among the silken folds of her dress. Mammy 
Clarissa raised one hand deprecatingly. 

*' Now don' yo' go foh tu 'sturb yo'se'f, Miz 
Ts'bel. I 's 'live right smaht. I done come foh 
tu hab speech wid yo' 'lone by yo' own se'f. I 
ain' no ghos'es, I ain', an' I 'low yo' ain' neider, 
yo' looks dat like yo' uset tu." 

Mrs. Marshall relaxed her hold of her chair. 
"Well!" she said, "you should have had more 
sense than to come creeping in so, scaring me out 
of my wits. What do you want to say.? " 

Clarissa looked deliberately about her. "I reck- 
oned I 'd fin' yo' heah, in de ol' room. Dey wan' 
no one roun', an' I jes' walked on up heah, like I 
uset tu." Then she said no more, but stood gaz- 
ing gravely and steadily in the face of her former 
mistress. 

"Don't stand staring so; sit down, and tell me 
how you are, and what you have come to say." 

" Naw 'm, I kin stan', I reckon. I 's right smaht, 
thank ye, ma'm, 'cept'n' de rheum.atiz in de bones, 
yas 'm. Wal, Miz Is'bel, I come heah fo' call tu 
yo' 'membrance de days 'long back in de fore 
time." She paused and wiped her dry lips with a 
handkerchief which she took, neatly folded, from 
her bosom. "Yas 'm, fu'st come de days when we 
war gals. Yo' 'membah dat time yo' paw sol' me 
tu mars'r gen'l's gran'paw, an' took he's fambly 



380 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

an' my maw off tu de saouf islan's wha' he come 
f'om? — ^ Mexico or New Awleans, some'ers daoim 
dat-a-way? I mind how I cried an' took on fo' my 
maw. I mind how yo' push me off' n her, 'nd say, 
*G' 'long yo' niggah, dis-yer's my mammy,' 'nd 
climb on her knee, 'nd mars' stan'nin' by an' 
laughin'. I mind how she sail off in de boat 'long 
o' yo' 'n' yo' paw 'nd maw, a-leanin' ova' dat side 
rail'n' an' callin' fo' me, an' yo' a-pullin' on her 
dress; I mind dat. Dat ar' de las' time I eva' see 
my maw. 

"Dat fambly yo' paw done sol' me tu, dat war 
de ol' Ma'shall fambly. Ol' Miz Ma'shall fotch 
me up right smaht tu du de fine stitch'n', 'nd cl'ar 
sta'tchin', 'nd i'nin', an' ova'seein' de linen, an' 
lookin' aftah de young ones an' I'arnin' 'em tu 
wo'k. I nuvva woah nuf^in' but silk turb'n dem 
days, yas 'm, 'nd white dress I al'us woah tu. " 
She paused again, leaning heavily on her stick, 
and, wiping her dry lips as before, gazed straight 
before her in silence. 

Mrs. Marshall stooped and picked up the fan. 
"Well, go on," she said, waving it slowly. "You 
have something on your mind you wish to relieve 
yourself of, I see, so I '11 humor you through; but 
I am growing tired." She leaned back, and slowly 
closed and opened her eyes. 

"Yas 'm, I war thinkin' on dem days." Clarissa 
lifted her head and looked intently at her old mis- 
tress with a gleam in her eyes. "T mind de time 
young Mars'r John come dar tu; I mind dat." 
Mrs. Marshall shifted her position. "Dey wan' no 
young man nowhar look like he look, so tall an' 



A Midnight Visit 381 

straight an' han'some, in he's so'ger clo'es w'en 
he come down tu visit he's gran'paw. W'en he git 
mad hit war like de sto'm-claoud rise out'n de sea, 
an' w'en he smile, yas 'm, hit war like de sun rise 
up in de mawnin'. I mind he had twin bruddertu. 
He did n' go fo' tu be no so'ger. He wen' up tu 
de No'f schule some'ers, 'nd he fall in lub an' 
mahy Yankee gal up yandah. I reckon dey war 
mad. I heah'd 'em say he lub de Yanks dat bad he 
mount stay right dar an' bed an' bo'd wid 'em, 
an' I nuvva see him no mo'." She paused a mo- 
ment and then continued : — 

" I mind de time young Mars'r John's fadah he 
took sick 'nd die, 'nd one y'ar mo' 'nd he's gran'- 
fatha he die tu, 'nd jes' one week f'om dat time 
ol' gran'-miz, she die tu, like she could n' lib 
wid'out her ol' man, — 'nd dar we-all wuz sol'. 
Young Mars'r John, he in de Wes' Point schule, 
he did n' know nufifin' 'bouts we bein' sol'. One 
o' dese yer trader men come 'long 'n' he tuck me. 
I war mighty skeered o' him. He nuvva hu't me, 
naw 'm^ but all de same I could n' bide tu see 'im 
nigh me noh tu tech me. 

"He tuk we-all tu mighty gran' big place, an' 
dar he come 'long one day, an' he say, * Cl'issy, yo* 
right peart gal. What-all fo' clo'es yo' got in dat 
bun'l' ? ' An' dar he tuk up fine silk headkercher 
ol' missus done gib me, an' de gol' beads young 
Mars'r John done gib me an' a white dress, an' 
gol' pin — young Mars'r John gib me dat tu, — 
an' he say, ' War dese. I wan* yo' look fine an' 
peart.' An' I say ' Yas 'r.' 'N' he say, ' Put 'em 
on.' An' I say, ' Yas 'r.' An' he holla, ' Put 'em 



382 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

on.' An' I say, ' Yas 'r.' 'N' he holla g'in/ Put 
'em on.' 'N' I say, * Yas 'r ' 'g'in, 'nd nuvva stir. 
Den he holla 'g'in, 'nd I say, Yo' take yo'se'f 
whar yo' b'long, 'n' I'll put 'em on.' Den he 
lif he's han' like he gwine hit ha'd, den he laff, 
'n' say, ' Yo' done got de debble in yo'.' 'Nd I 
say, ' Yas 'r, 'n' yo' done put 'im dar tu.' 

"Den I put on de clo'es, an' all de odah niggahs 
stan'in' roun' in de drove, — men, women, an' 
chillun. But I put 'em on, fo' I knowed I 'd be 
killed ef I did n'. Den he tuk me out tu de 
block, an' he say, 'Git up dar,' he say. An' I 
git up an' look roun', an' dar I see all de man 
faces lookin' up at me all ova de squ'ar, an' all 
ova de sidewalkses, an' dar dey point wid de 
cane. Den one say, * She got a heap o' temper, I 
reckon.' An' trader man, he say, 'She mil' as 
lamb. ' Den nurrer man say, ' She got de bery 
debble in 'er eye.' An' he say, 'She hab de 
spi't ob a angel, an' she kin sing yo's tu sleep 
like she bohned a mocker.' Den dey all laff, an' 
I feel like I gwine fall down off'n dat place. 
Den, all 'er a suddent, I see young Mars'r John 
yandah in de crowd, in he's so'ger clo'es, wid he's 
shinin' face, like he jes' come down f'om heaben, 
— an' I hoi' out my ahms an' try fo' tu call 'im; 
but I could n' make no soun'. Naw 'm. But I 
see 'im push he's way t' rough all dem rats dar, 
nigh head taller 'n all on 'em, yas 'm, an' I see 'im 
hoi' up he's han', an' I see all de faces swimmin' 
roun', an' de block slip out f'om under my feet 
like, an' I did n' see no mo' ontwell I heah'n 'im 
sayin', 'Wake up, Cl'issy. Dey ain' gwine sell 



A Midnight Visit 383 

yo' no mo'. I done pay de money fo' yo', an' I 
gwine tek yo' home wid me. Jes' yo' folia me.' 
I 'd a folla'd 'im ef he 'd 'a' axed me tu walk 
intu de fiah. I'd folla'd 'im ontwell I could n' 
walk no mo' an' jes' fall down dead at he's feet 
'fo' 'im, yas 'm. Dat ar hu-cum de Mars'r Gen'l 
buy me an' tuk me home. Ol' miz, she rose me 
mighty kin' an' sof like. I nuvva did n' look tu 
be sol' like common niggah trash off'n de block, 
naw'm. " She paused again, and wiped her brow 
and her lips. Mrs. Marshall leaned back in her 
chair and closed her eyes. "Go on," she said. 
"I hear you." 

"Yas'm, wal 'm, hit war dat-a-way he tuk me 
home, an' I tuk keer on he's maw. She war sof 
an' gentle like she wait'n' fo' de angels tu come 
an' fotch her tu heaben. Likely dat all she wait'n' 
fo'. She lie dar one day an' jes' pass like a breff 
come an' blow her soul 'way, an' dar dey wan' no 
one lef but jes' young Mars'r Gen'l an' me, an' 
a lot o' young trash niggahs wha' I look aftah an' 
I'arn fo' tu keep de haouse fo' 'im. Young Mars'r 
Gen'l, he grieve he's se'f, I mind dat. Long 
while he grieve. He go heah, an' he go dar, an' 
ev'y time he come home 'g'in he say, ' Cl'issy, 
dis-yer 's de bes' place, aftah all.' Aftah while he 
brung home de ol' haouse full o' he's frien's. He 
jes' say, 'Cl'issy, git de rooms ready;' an' I du 
hit, an' cook de chick'n pie, an' de hot biscuit, 
an' dar de happy days begin. Nigh on tu five y'ar 
he go on dat-a-way; I war right happy den, yas 'm, 
right happy. One day come 'long big crowd f'om 
Wash'n'ton. I mind yo' 'long dat time. I don' 



384 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

know whar he met up wid yo', but dar yo' come 
wid yo' maids an' yoah gran' clo'es shinin' wid 
de silk an' gol', an' yo' walk de haouse like yo' 
done bohned dar, — yas 'm, — de same liT Miz 
Is'bel wha' done push me off' n my own maw. I 
knowed yo' 'd done come fo' tek young Mars' r 
Genl f'om me tu. Now jes' yo' bide still dar. 
I ain' come fo' no hu't. I come heah fo' tu bring: 
yo' min' back tu de 'membrance o' de pas', an' yo' 
gwine set still dar an' hark. 

"Wen dat crowd go Mars'r John, he mighty 
res' less. One day he walk de flo' up an' down, 
up an' down, den he come out on de po'ch whar I 
set sewin' an' harkin' tu 'im pace de room, an' he 
say, ' Cl'issy, yo' alius been mighty good; yo' been 
good tu my maw.' An' I say, ' Yas, Mars'r John.' 
Den he say, 'Hit 's time I marr'd 'nd raise up my 
fadah's haouse. I gwine bring home heah a mistus, 
Cl'issy.' An' I say, * Yas, yas, Mars'r John.' Den 
he say, * Yo' gwine be good tu her, Cl'issy.'' ' An' 
I say, ' Yas, Mars'r John, I gwine du all yo' ax 
me. Ef yo' ax me walk intu de fiah, I du hit. ' 

"Den he come nigh me, an' put he's han' under 
my chin, an' lif up my haid, an' say, ' Cl'issy, I 
b'lieve yo'.' An' he kiss my fo'haid an' go off. 
Den I go tu my own room, an' dar I lie on de flo', 
an' ax de Lawd tek de h'a't out 'n me an' leab me 
die an' go tu ol' mist'is; but he didn' du hit, 
naw 'm, he done leab me heah yit. Wen Mars'r 
John come back he fotch yo' wid 'im, an' dar come 
'long lot o' yo' own folkses tu — gran' an' fine, an' 
sof'-speakin' like yo' own se'f. I could n' un'er- 
stan' how dey speak, neider. Hit mighty strange 



A Midnight Visit 385 

talk dey done use. I reckon yo' 'membahs dat 
time tu, Miz Is'bel, — yas, I reckon so. Yo' 
mighty fine fo' a while, den yo' tek de bit in yo' 
teef, 'an dar yo' go. Yo' mind de days Mars'r 
Gen'l go tu Wash'n'ton ? Yo' mind how yo' run 
de place, Miz Is'bel.'* Yas, I reckon so. Look 
a-heah, — don' yo' go fo' tu git 'sited. I jes' 
gwine tell yo' de troof, den I gwine quit." 

Mammy Clarissa stopped leaning on her stick, 
and raised herself to her full height. Her eyes 
glowed like two coals of fire. She ceased speak- 
ing in a dreamy tone of reflection and reminis- 
cence. "Look a-heah," she said in louder tone, 
"yo' mind de time yo' beat me an' sta've me? 
Yo' mind de time yo' git ol' Pete tu lay on de 
lash tu me.-* Yo' mind dat.'* An' why fo' yo' 
done hit.-* Look a-heah." She crossed the room 
and opened a door that led into a small brushing- 
room or closet, and, stooping over, looked closely 
at the bare boards, where a dark brown stain 
showed. 

"Yas 'm, hit dar as of ol' time. Dar de blood- 
stain yit. Yo' 'membah dat time yo' tu'n on 
me an' cut me wid Mars'r John's hunt'n' knife.? 
Heah 's de skyah 'crost my ahm yit, an' at de jedg- 
men' day dat skyah gwine shine in yo' eyes. I 
mind de time yo' cut dat skyah an' push me in 
dar, an' lock de do'. I min' lyin' dar wid de 
blood flowin' an' hyar'n' yo' walkin' roun' in 
de room, singin' sof an' low like nuffin' did n' 
trouble yo' none; an' dar yo' lef me all night, 'n' 
no watah tu drink, 'n' nuffin' tu eat, 'n' no one tu 
he'p. Dar de blood-stain yit. Hit ain' nuvva 
25 



386 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

come off, an' hit nuvva will come off, 'dout fiah 
bu'n hit. 

"Set yo'se'f still dar ontwell yo' heah de res'. 
Nex' day yo' done de same, — yo' heah me groan 
an' call fo' one drap o' watah. Yo' nuvva onlock 
de do', an' de nex' day yo' go 'way wid de key in 
yo' pocket, an' I try fo' call, but didn' hab no 
strenk. I 'low yo' didn' reckon Mars'r John 
com'n' home dat day, but he come; yas 'm, he 
come an' call yo', an' Cah'line she tell 'im Miz 
Is'bel done gone ovah tu Miz Col'n'l Wells fo' 
de day. An' he come in heah an' sit down, an' 
I mek out fo' tu speak he's name, an' he try de 
do'. Den he call, ' Cah'line, hu-come dis do' 
lock? Wha 's de key.^ ' An' she say, * I do' know, 
Mars'r Gen'l. ' Den Mars'r John he know dar 
somp'n' bad duin', an' he bre'k de doah, an' tek 
me up in he's ahms, an' tote me tu my own baid, 
an' lay me dar, an' brung watah, an' keer fo' me 
de whole day, ontwell night come, an' he say ovah 
an' ovah, ' Cl'issy, she shall pay fo' dis.' Yas 
'm, dat what he say. I kin 'membah dat. 

" Naw yo' doan move, noh speak neider. Yo' 
set yo'se'f dar an' hark. Cah'line, ol' Alexan- 
dah's wife, she kin 'membah dat tu, an' mo', I 
reckon. I do' know what-all Mars'r done say tu 
yo', but yo' nuvva tech me 'g'in. Naw 'm. I 
mind dem days; how I done de fine stitch'n' fo' 
yo', wha' ol' Miz Marshall I'arn me tu du. All 
de long, sof fine clo'es fo' yo' baby, I done de 
stitch'n' on dem. Yas 'm, an' I mind how," — 
Mammy Clarissa dropped her voice to a lower tone, 
— " w'en de day war done, an' yo' could n' task me 



A Midnight Visit 387 

no mo', while yo' lay sleepin' 'long side Mars'r 
John, I uset tu sit by de can'l' light an' sew de 
co'se white cloff ontwell de daylight streak de sky 
in de mawnin'. Yas 'm, de time pass slow, wid 
de days a-servin' an' de nights a-cryin', ontwell 
yo' 'low I gwine spile my eyes fo' de fine stitch'n', 
an' yo' gwine sell me off Saouf C'liny way. 

" I mind de night tu, yas 'm, I mind hit, w'en my 
baby come. Ol' Aunt Betsy, f'om Cun'l Wellses, 
she war by me, troo de bitterness, and de dark- 
ness, and de heavy-heartness, an' fo' daylight she 
done lef me dar wid my own li'l' chile in my 
ahms, an' I lie in de dark time, an' pray de Lawd 
tek 'im out'n de worl' an' tek me wid 'im; but 
he did n' nuvva hearn me; naw'm, he lef me dar, 
an' de chile tu. W'en de mawnin' come, I lif 
up de kiver, an' look at my chile, lyin' dar in my 
ahms, an' I see a angel f'om heaben. I see why 
de Lawd would n' tek 'im long back 'g'in, 'case 
he jes' been dar, wid he's sof skin, an' fa'r ha'r y^ ^ 
like de sun done tech hit, an' w'en he open he's 
gre't eyes, dar dey shine wid de blue in 'em, 
yas'm, an' I cry out in my h'a't, an' kiver 'im up 
an' hoi' 'im clost. O Lawd, O Lawd! I mind 
dat time. I reckon yo' don' 'membah dat, naw 'm. 

"I mind I lie dar, an' shet my eyes 'g'in, an' 
'long 'bouts sun-up de do' open mighty ha'd an' 
suddent like, an' dar come ol' Mars'r Doctor, wid 
de bun'l' in he's ahms, an' he lay hit 'long side 
me, an' he say, ' Cl'issy, heah 's yo' missus' baby. 
Yo' tek right smaht keer on hit now.' An' he 
stomp off 'g'in, an' shet de do' ha'd, an' I hyearn 
'im stompin' down de hall. Den I lif myse'f up 



388 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

an' open de bun'l', an' dar, jes' wrop in a cloff 
like, an' roll in de blanket, lie yo' baby. Yas 'm, 
yo' baby, sho 'nuff, wid de dark skin an' de black, 
sof ha'r like all yo' folkses wha' come up heah 
f'om de Saouf Islands, an' like yo'se'f tu, wid de 
big dark eyes, like de black coals out'n de fiah, 
look'n' up at me, an' I kiver hit up 'g'in, an' hoi' 
my chile clost, an' cry out in my h'a't 'g'in, ' O 
Lawd, set my chile free. Tek 'im back, Lawd. 
Don' leab 'im heah, 'case I knowed yo' chile done 
come tu rob my chile like yo' rob me.' 

" Naw 'm, set yo'se'f still. I has mo' tu tell. 
By 'm by Cah'line come in, an' I lie dar wid my 
eyes shet, an' she onkiver yo' baby, an' she say, 
' Cl'issy, dis yo' chile.? ' an' I lie still. Den she 
step roun' mighty sof an' mek fiah, an' wahm de 
watah, an' by 'm by she onkiver bof de chillen, 
an' I lie dar wid my eyes shet, an' a mighty so' 
hea't, an' she stan' dar lookin' at de chillen sleep- 
in' so sof 'n' still. Den she reach ovah an' tek 
my chile out'n my ahms, an' tek hit 'way by de 
fiah, an' I did n' open my eyes noh say nuffin'. I 
jes' lay dar wid de heavy-heartness ontwell I done 
drap off tu sleep sho 'nuff. A'teraw'ile I done 
heah a baby cryin', an' I open my eyes an' dar 
Stan' Cah'line side de baid wid bun'l' wrop up in 
de co'se cloff, an' she say, ' Cl'issy, heah, yo' tek 
yo' own chile; he nigh stahvin', I reckon. Missus* 
baby don' need nuf n'. He sleep'n' heah all right ; ' 
an' she lay de bun'l' in my ahms, an' I tu'n back 
de cloff offn de haid, an' dar I see yo' chile; 
yas'm, yo' chile dress' in de co'se cloff wha' I done 
sew fo' my own, in de night times w'en yo' war 



A Midnight Visit 389 

sleep'n'. Wid de tears a-fallin' an' de hea't 
a-grieve'n', I done sew dose clo'es, an' dar I see 
'em on yo' chile. Yas 'm, set yo'se'f still dai an' 
hark. I done tek yo' chile in my ahms an' heish 
'im tu sleep, an' Cah'line, she step roun' sof an' 
men' de fiah, an' bresh de hyarth, an' go off. Den 
I rose up an' look at my own li'l' baby, an' dar he 
lie in de sof, white clo'es, wid de lace, an' de fine 
wo'k wid de needle wha' I done sew, an' I say, ' De 
Lawd done do de choosin'. I done sew de clo'es, 
bof de co'se an' de fine, an' de Lawd done guide 
de han' wha' put 'em on de chillen. Ef hit ain' 
nuffin' but de clo'es wha' gib de chile a place in 
dis worl', ef dey don' know no dif'unce, 'cept'n' dat 
ar, den de Lawd's name be praise. Ef one o' dese 
chillen gwine be mars', an' one gwine be slave, / 

an' one fadah de fadah ob bof, den de Lawd's name v 
be praise, dey kin du dey own choos'n'. By 'm by 
Cah'line come back an' brung me victuals, an' she 
Stan' dar, lookin' at my boy, an' she says, * 'Pears ^ ^^ 
like he don' look like her none, but he mighty \ 
puty. ' An' I say, ' Sholy he are.' An' she say, 
* Missus done ax fo' 'im, ' an' she cahy 'im out." 
Old Clarissa paused, and once again wiped her face 
and lips with the handkerchief. 

The old woman before her, writhing with pas- 
sion, had repeatedly struggled to rise from her 
chair, but seemed unable to do so. Now she stood 
up, and reaching toward her old slave with her 
long thin fingers, made as if she would clutch 
her by the throat. 

" You devil ! " she said between her closed teeth, 
and fell back into her seat, exhausted by her own rage. 



390 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

*'Da's right, Miz Is'bel. Set yo'se'f dar. I 
ain' come heah fo' no hu't. I come heah tu git 
shet o' dis-yer vvha' I done cahy on my hea't like 
a stone o' lead all dese yeahs. I come heah fo' 
tell yo' de troof an' git 'lowed tu pass. Dey ain' 
nuvva been nobody on dis yearth wha' knowed dis 
heah on'y me, an' now I done tole yo' I reckon de 
Lawd gwine 'low me tu die some time, an' go tu 
ol' missus. I mine de time yo' mek me mahy ol' 
brudder Thomas Ma'hshall. Yo' done dat 'case 
yo' hate me, make me mahy de brackes' niggah on 
de place. Da 's all right. He war mighty good 
man. He done tol' me lub dem dat hate me. Du 
good tu dem dat 'spitefully uses me, an' I done hit. 
I done I'arn dat ar. I fo'gib yo' long w'ile 'go, 
but yo' wan' heah, an' I could n' tell yo' de troof 
ontwell yo' come home 'g'in. Mars' Gen'l he lie 
dar in de gr.abeya'd wha' dey done tuk 'im, an' 
he's soul wait'n' de day ob jedgmen', an' 'fo' long 
yo' gwine lie dar tu, I reckon, an' now I done tol' 
yo' de troof, I 'low I kin be let tu pass f'om dis 
low worl' an' go home one o' dese days, — Lawd 
he'p my soul! An' w'en we-all stan' dar fo' de 
gre't w'ite t'rone, may de good Lawd he'p yo' soul 
tu. I 'low I done sin a gre't sin, but I done 'fess 
hit 'fo' yo', an' 'fo' de God ob heaben, an' he wha' 
sit on de t'rone, he kin look intu de hea't, an' he 
kin jedge 'twixt us an' Mars' Gen'l tu. Oh, good 
Lawd, Mars' Gen'l done sin tu! Ef yo' mus' 
strike him, Lawd, le' me b'ar de blow." She 
turned away with this prayer, without regarding 
the old woman before her further. 

Slowly she crept down the stairs, replaced her 



/ 



A Midnight Visit 391 

shoes at the door, and left the house as she had 
come. 

Suddenly Mrs. Marshall raised herself. The 
storm within her had not subsided. She breathed 
heavily, and with difficulty. Her face turned a 
dull purple hue. She threw up her arms and 
tried to run after her old slave, and taking a step 
or two forward, fell prone across the threshold of 
her door. There, when they returned from the 
ball-room, half an hour later, they found her lying. 
In one hand she held the paper-knife, clutched 
like a dagger. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
A BITTER CUP 

MRS. MARSHALL lay in her room, silent 
as death; never a word, never a movement 
of her helpless body, even to so much as the lift- 
ing of a finger. Her tortured spirit was held in a 
silent prison. Her slight hands, folded among the 
soft white laces of her sleeves, seemed only a part 
of them, so still and nerveless they lay. 

Her hair, which had showed traces of its youth- 
ful blackness and lustre, became in a week as 
white as frosted silver. Only her dark eyes, glow- 
ing with an eager fire, searching the faces about 
her, noting with intent alertness all that passed, 
never closing, always watching, betrayed the suffer- 
ing soul within. 

A local physician was called without delay, and 
another came from New York, at great expense. 
What should they do ? Should they take her to a 
sanatorium, — a hospital ? How could they help 
her.? They would be guided by him, would do 
anything he said, — but, alas ! he said : " Let her 
be; she is better off where she is." 

There was nothing to be done but what a well- 
trained nurse could do. He would send them one. 

Was there no hope.? None. She might be re- 
lieved somewhat, but any sudden change for the 

39? 



A Bitter Cup 393 

better would be apt to be followed by as sudden a 
decline, and possibly death. 

However, there was no telling; she might live 
months, nay, years. 

"Oh, poor, poor aunty!" sobbed Marguerite, 
kneeling beside her, with her arm thrown over the 
thin, nerveless body. " Dear aunty, you are look- 
ing at me; you know we love you even if we have 
been perverse. Aunty dear, if you know I love 
you and am sorry, shut your eyes. That will be a 
sign to me that you hear me, and understand." 

The great eyes slowly closed, and slowly opened 
again, and Marguerite kissed her. 

Then John returned from his consultation with 
the physician, and Marguerite, resting her head 
against his arm, wept again. 

"John, if we could only have pleased her, — but 
we could not." 

"No, little sister, we could not," he said ten- 
derly. "Come away," and they went into the next 
room. 

"John, you are all I have now. I am all, all 
alone." 

" Marguerite, look into my eyes and tell me the 
truth. Is it I whom you love best in the world ? 
Is there no one else who is dearer, just a little 
dearer, it may be.'* " 

" My heart aches so, — oh, it aches so, John. I 
never dreamed such a terrible thing as this could 
come upon us. It is n't a punishment, is it.^ " 

"No, no, dear. Why should you be punished.'* 
Now won't you Answer my question.?" 

Marguerite dried her eyes and looked away. 



394 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Then turning, she put her hand in John's, and 
looking straight in his face, said, " Yes, John. 
You know there is one — one — dearer even than 
you are. I will be true. I will never pretend 
anything any more." 

''Then may he come in and speak to you.-* He 
is waiting to see you. Poor fellow ! he has waited 
ever since that terrible night just to say one word 
of comfort. Dr. Holmes says this may result 
fatally now, or may not. We must take what 
comes as God's will, and for ourselves, we must 
do what we know is right by those we love. Will 
you see him. Marguerite?" 

"Yes." 

"Then, little sister, I '11 ask him to come to 
you ; " and he turned toward the door. 

"Wait, John," she said; and he came back 
again. " I am not sending you away from me, 
John ; I want you to know that you are dear to me 
too," she said tearfully. "I am not ungrateful. 
Stoop down." He bent his head towards her, and 
taking his face between her two hands she kissed 
him. "There, now go," she said; and he went, 
humbled in his heart. Had he always been just 
to this impetuous little soul, struggling through 
false teaching and almost every hampering cir- 
cumstance to find its true light.? He feared not. 
Thank God there had been one able, imperfectly, 
perhaps, to sound its depths. 

His friend was pacing restlessly up and down 
the long hall. John laid his hand on his arm and 
said gravely, "You may go to her. She will see 
you," and passed on. 



A Bitter Cup 395 

When Hanford entered he found her standing as 
John had left her, in the middle of the room, with 
flushed cheeks and tearful eyes. He held out his 
arms, and she came to them, — the arms that had 
opened once to set her free. 

The fall days crept on, and the heat waxed 
greater, and then gradually lessened, and the silent 
splendor of the autumn stole over the hills and 
valleys, and the summer boarders dropped off, a 
few at a time, until the great house was left nearly 
empty. Portia had leisure now for thinking and 
dreaming, for driving with John over the dear old 
mountain roads, and for her grandfather's pleasure 
also. The sweet tones of his violin might be 
heard at almost any hour, penetrating like rays 
of sunlight through the gloom. 

There was always a happy light in Portia's eyes 
these days, and her voice seemed to grow fuller 
and richer. 

They were standing on the hillside one day, she 
and John. Her hands were full of the late chrysan- 
themums, — a glowing mass of color. 

"What are you going to do with these?" he 
asked. 

"Come with me, and I will show you," she 
replied. She led him over the brambly hillside 
until they came to a small cleared space, where 
were two or three low mounds fenced in. One 
seemed to have been made years before, and was 
almost effaced, but was marked by a rude head- 
board which had been painted white. The other 
seemed to have been more recently made. The red 
soil was not yet overrun with weeds and brambles. 



396 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

"Here it is, — the place where they laid that 
white-headed old preather, " she said. Dividing 
her flowers, she laid part of them at the foot of the 
weather-beaten headboard, and the rest she placed 
on the old man's grave. " I come here every week. 
I have never been able, quite, to get that scene off 
my mind : that night when he was shot, you know. 
It hangs like a shadow in the midst of my happi- 
ness. I have been so happy, John;" she slipped 
her hand into his. "You know that tragedy, after 
all, was the beginning of our knowing each 
other." 

" The beginning of our happiness was long before 
that, when you came upon me there in Germany; 
and next, when I sat alone out in the darkness, 
and you sang to me ; and again, when you ran out 
early in the morning and sang to me. You see 
the happy beginning was made long before this 
ever happened. There is no shadow hanging over 
you." 

"Yes, I suppose it did, for you, John, Don't 
think me morbid ; I am the happiest woman on 
earth. These are all the flowers I shall have to 
put here this year. By next week they may all be 



gone." 



"Miss Mann," he said, reading the name that 
was painted on the headboard. " Why do you put 
them on this grave .-* " 

"Haven't you heard of her.^ She came down 
here, and literally sacrificed herself for the colored 
people. I have heard them tell about her. She 
lived among them, taught them, and finally died 
among them," 



A Bitter Cup 397 

John looked at her in some surprise. "You 
have changed in your feelings, then, toward them, 
since we had our first talk together? " 

"Why, no, I can't really say that I have. I 
am fighting away at my prejudices, however." 

"Why do you? They are only natural." 

" Are they natural, or from wrong education ? I 
have my theories, you know, and am trying to live 
up to them." 

"You beautiful little Puritan!" he said, laugh- 
ing, and drawing her toward him. "Come away 
from here. Tell me, what are your theories ? " 

"For one thing, I think we have wrong esti- 
mates in this world." 

" More so than in other worlds of your expe- 
rience? " 

Portia laughed. " Yes. We are to graduate out 
of this into another where prejudices have no part. 
It will not be, ' What color are you ? ' or, ' What 
occupation have you? ' or, ' How much money have 
you ? ' but, ' What are you ? ' " 

" So you are fighting your prejudices beforehand. 
Are you really sure you have any ? " 

"Yes." 

"Ah! I am glad." 

"Glad to discover weaknesses in me that are 
unworthy? Why? " She stood on a great boulder 
looking down on him. 

" Because — " he held out his hand to assist her 
down, and springing, she landed in his arms in- 
stead of on the ground. 

" Put me down, John ; for shame." 

"Because," he went on, "if you have not a few 



(( 



398 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

frailties, how am I going to keep you in this world 
with me? Cling to your prejudices, by all means." 

She burst into merry laughter. " No, Mr. John. 
It is my privilege to hide my weaknesses from you. 
You will discover them soon enough." 

"Now as we walk home talk about the future," 
he said. 

" How can we ? " 

"Why, this way. You set the wedding day, and 
I, as the architect, will begin building us a castle 
in Spain." 

"Very well; then I will say next June." 

" What ? " 
Next June." 

Why not wait forever.? Say next Christmas, 
and I can count the time by days instead of 
months." 

"But there will be so much to arrange." 

"Not at all. Consider. My hotel has taken 
your occupation from you; the proprietor is al- 
ready in it, and has ruined your business. What 
is there for you to arrange ? There is nothing left 
you but to take up a new career. You are to go 
to Europe, and finally are to astonish the world. 
You are to be the finest artist living, and I am 
to dance attendance as your humble and devoted 
slave. Thousands, nay, millions, will flock to hear 
you. The world will bow down at your feet." 

"John, stop this nonsense," she said, laughing. 
"Can't you think of a greater career for me.?" 
jt/ttu^rmt^^'YQs^ my Puritan, yes." 

'^■*fM»^mi^ "To be yo ur wi fe, j.nd the mistress of your 
home, John .? " 



A Bitter Cup 399 

"Yes, you read me right. Selfish creatures we 



men are." 



" Selfish to bestow on me the greatest honor a 
man can.? Oh, John, you hardly read me aright." 

" You never quite said those words with me I 
once asked you to say." 

"No.? Then I will say them now. 'No power 
on earth shall take me from you, John. ' Are 
those the words } " 

" Yes, and for me I have said them over and 
over : ' No power on earth shall take you from me, 
Portia.' Then at Christmas, shall we say.? " 

" Let us begin the new year together." 

"As you say." He looked at her, walking at his 
side, with quiet happiness shining in his eyes. 

" And let us not build any more castles in Spain 
now because of your mother." 

" Yes, she must be prepared. I will do it very 
gently. I think she will understand." 

They walked on in silence, and when they reached 
home a few raindrops were pattering down on the 
fallen leaves. 

Thus the days slipped away. Now it was John 
and Portia, and now it was Hanford and Marguerite 
who were building castles in Spain. The double 
wedding day was set; it was coming on apace. 
The old woman still lay in her chamber of silence, 
like death in life. Her restless eyes searched 
every face that entered, as if vainly seeking one 
who could interpret her thoughts for her. Clare 
and the medical nurse watched over her every com- 
fort, and Marguerite sat by her side, faithfully 
trying to anticipate her wishes. She worked at 



400 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

her embroidery there. Sometimes she read to her. 
" If you understand and like it, aunty dear, close 
your eyes once;" and slowly her eyes would close 
and open again. "And if you are tired, aunty, 
close and open them twice." This was her only 
means of communication with those around her. 

One day John stood by the side of her bed. He 
had been walking, and was warm, for the Decem- 
ber sun shone, and although it was late the frosts 
had not yet come to nip things. His hair was 
damp and clung to his forehead and temples. He 
pushed back the clustering mass that had been 
pressed down by his hat, and wiped his brow and 
neck with his handkerchief. As he looked down 
on her, he smiled. It was a smile full of tender- 
ness and love. 

" Mother dear, if I could I would give you part 
of my health and vigor," he said. Ah, he was 
beautiful to look at as he stood there in his 
strength. " I would take you up in my arms and 
carry you out in the sunlight. You are so light I 
could do it easily, right here on the upper veranda. 
Would you like it.-* " She closed her eyes. 

"Nurse," he called, "can I take mother out in 
the sun a moment, here on the gallery ? " 

" You can't mean it ! " she said, entering quickly 
from another room. 

"Yes, see how warm it is." So they wrapped 
her carefully in a soft, clinging blanket, and he car- 
ried her out through the double French window. 

"The air is sweet, mother, and you are not 
heavy." He paced up and down, holding her as if 
she were a child. " I must do this every day now. 



A Bitter Cup 401 

Perhaps it may give you strength to speak to us 



again." 



Marguerite and Hanford were walking in the 
paths, among the dropping autumn leaves, arm in 
arm. She saw them, and her eyes wandered from 
them to John's face. 

" It is all right, mother dear. Try to feel that 
it is." 

Mr. Ridgeway and his daughter sat on the lower 
veranda. The murmur of their voices came up to 
them. Presently Mr. Ridgeway spoke out in a 
little louder tone. 

The day is drawing very near now," he said. 

It makes me a little sad, but I would not have 
her see it." 

John walked to the farther end of the gallery, 
and Mrs. Van Ostade's low reply was lost. As he 
paced back the grandfather spoke again, — ■ 

"It is n't that I regret it, Clara; John is a noble 
fellow, and her happiness is dearer to me than my 






own." 



Once more the low reply was lost, and John car- 
ried his mother back and laid her on the bed again. 
Her eyes were fixed steadily on his, as if she would 
pierce him through. He knew she had compre- 
hended. The nurse had stepped away for a mo- 
ment, and he arranged the pillows and clothing 
and placed the poor helpless body in an easy pos- 
ture, and folded her thin white hands over the 
counterpane with the deft, gentle touch of a woman. 

" Listen, mother. It is best for both of us. 
Try to feel that it is. Let nothing trouble you, 
mother dear. Try only to recover enough to speak 
26 



402 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

to us again, and tell us that it is right. It is best 
for Marguerite, believe me, it is." 

Suddenly a dark purple flush suffused her face, 
and he noticed that her lips were moving. His 
heart gave a sudden bound, and slipping his hand 
under the pillow he lifted her head and put his 
ear close to try to catch her words; and he did, and 
the curse they brought him as they were whispered, 
half hissed at him. 

" Better for — her — for Mar — Marguerite, — 
yes — you - — you — are not my — son you — have 
robbed — him of — his po — position, his — birth 

— right — of his in — heritance you — you — are 
part of the devil's — own brood — I — I — hate you 

— as I hated — her — who bore you. — Go to your 
old — old dam — and wring — the truth — from her 
and — then — kill her and never — say the word — 
mother — of me again — nor let — me see — your 
face — again — go. " 

Her face became pallid once more. She ceased 
speaking, and closed her eyes. He laid her down 
again, still gently, and tried to call the nurse, but 
had no voice. Presently he regained self-control, 
and finding her sent her to the bedside, and went 
into the garden to Marguerite. 

''Mother has spoken a few words," he said. 
"Go to her quickly. She may have something to 
say to you." He was deathly pale. Oh, the force 
of habit ! He had called her mother again. Mar- 
guerite hurried in, and Hanford, noticing his agita- 
tion, started to follow John, as he walked away, 
but, prompted by his inner consciousness, as 
quickly stopped and remained where he was. 



A Bitter Cup 403 

John strode rapidly along, conning the words he 
had just heard. "Perhaps she was just raving," 
he thought, — but they had come to him so dis- 
tinctly; they had fallen like drops of liquid fire 
into his soul. Did she mean Mammy Clarissa? 
He would go to her and learn the truth. But 
there was no truth in it. His mother's reason was 
gone. He came to the foot log over the stream, 
and paused. Here was the place where he had 
told his love to Portia on that sweet spring morn- 
ing. The stream rushed on, tumbling and foaming 
over the rocks, careless of human love or human 
sorrow, and yet it seemed to voice the tumult of 
his spirit now, even as it had seemed to voice, on 
that fair, early morning, the impetuous rush of his 
happy heart. 

Mechanically he crossed the log and walked 
on to the little clearing. There were two cabins 
there now, and an addition to the log stable for 
Gabriella's cow. Josephus was living comfortably 
beside his mother in his own little cabin, with his 
two mules all paid for. John had given him work 
and good pay all summer. No one was about. 
Gabriella was singing a hymn to a tune full of 
quavers as she prepared Josephus' supper. 

John crossed the yard and entered Clarissa's 
cabin. " I will go in, at any rate, and see her now 
that I am here," he said to himself. 

"Is yo' come, honey.-*" She was seated bent 
over the embers, and stirred them into a bright 
blaze. "O Lawd ! Yo' is dat like yo' paw 
w'en he come an' paid de money fo' me dat time! 
Draw up yo' cheer, honey," and he did so. 



404 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Ah, how often when he was a child he had 
turned away from his mother's reproofs and found 
comfort in her arms ! How often, when he was 
weary, he had climbed into her lap and rested his 
head on her bosom, and fallen peacefully to sleep, 
listening to her crooning. 

He remained in the cabin, questioning her and 
listening to her now, for over an hour; and when 
he came out he closed the door softly after him, 
and walked off down the road reeling like a 
drunken man, staggering under a load that he felt 
himself in his strength too weak to carry. When 
he reached the stream he was too weary and heavy 
to go farther. He stretched himself on the ground 
face downward, and the darkness slowly and silently 
closed over him like a mantle of sorrow. He heard 
the ceaseless noise of the water like the rushing 
and crowding and striving of human hearts, ever 
pushing and hurrying to their doom, and ever cry- 
ing out in the darkness. Were all the demons of 
hell let loose upon him.'* What should he do.? 
"Curse God and die?" 

His temptation came upon him swift and ter- 
rible. Why should he not cover all this up in his 
heart and let everything go on as before. Was 
it not God's will.'* "Bury it," said the tempter 
within him. "Who will know.?" But the still 
small voice of his heart said, " Shall I rob my 
brother, and know it.?" And all night long the 
fires burned in his spirit until it was purged and 
laid bare before his Creator. 

All night he lay there fighting with evil, for it 
was heavy upon him and beset him sore. As the 



A Bitter Cup 405 

dawn began to glow in the east a sleep of exhaus- 
tion fell upon him, and in his sleep it seemed a 
spirit came to him holding a whip of small cords, 
with which it drove away the darkness and demons 
that had surrounded him during the night; and 
then it seemed a voice spoke words of comfort in 
his ears, — words he had often heard, unthinking 
of their meaning, from the pulpit, when the scrip- 
tures were read; and then it seemed a voice like 
Portia's took them up and sang them; and in his 
restless sleep he seemed to see a woman stand 
where the spirit had stood, pale and sad, and very 
beautiful, and that as she bent above him her tears 
fell upon him, and he could hear her weeping, and 
that he tried to reach out to her, to touch her 
hand, but could not; then he seemed to hear the 
sound of the whirring of many wings, and he 
awoke, and only the sound of the rushing water 
was in his ears. 

He rose, and went to the stream and bathed his, 
face and cooled his throbbing temples. " My God," 
he said, " if I had yielded, how could I ever have 
gone to her with a lie in my heart.? Her eyes 
would have searched it out. If I were to kiss her 
with the lie on my lips, they would have blackened 
her. " 

He walked on, stronger now; his brow was 
clear and his face very pale. He looked older, but 
he had conquered. He did not go to Mrs, Wells, 
but took his way to the old home. What to do in 
the immediate future he knew not, but he seemed 
irresistibly drawn back to the scene of his desola- 
tion. Clare met him at the door. 



4o6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

*' How is she? " he asked mechanically. 

** La madam ? Ze is dead. " She spoke in a 
whisper, as if she feared the dead might hear. 

Mechanically, still, he walked up to her room. 
The medical nurse was there, stepping softly about. 

"I am glad you are come," she said. "Mr. 
Ridgeway was just going for you. She has not 
opened her eyes since you left yesterday. She 
stopped breathing an hour ago." 

He stood beside the bed looking down on her. 
So his was the last face she had looked on ; how 
changed, now, since he stood there yesterday, in 
all the buoyancy of power and happiness ! He felt 
himself old, and scarce thinking what he did, he 
passed his hand over his face, half expecting to 
find it wrinkled and drawn. Marguerite came and 
stood beside him silently weeping. Presently Han- 
ford entered and stood on the other side. John 
felt his eyelids hot and dry. No tears came to his 
eyes as he looked down on her whom from child- 
hood he had called mother. Her face had not the 
peaceful calm upon it usual in bodies from which 
the spirit has fled ; it looked distorted and drawn, 
as if worried with pain. He could stand it no 
longer and walked away. In the upper hall he 
met Mrs. Van Ostade. She came up to him, hold- 
ing out both hands. He took them and held them 
in his. 

"We all love you, John. We would help you if 
we could." 

"I know it, I know it," he said; and for the 
first time he kissed her. " Remember, always re- 
member, that your generous, sweet loving was 



A Bitter Cup 407 

returned tenfold," he said, and left her. In the 
drawing-room he found Portia, as he had found her 
on the day of Mrs. Marshall's arrival, arranging 
and putting away her music, only now she was 
pale, and her hands trembled. Death had entered 
the house. He paused on the threshold, but she 
came quickly and drew him to a seat beside her. 
Ah, the healing in that firm, gentle touch ! 

"I have been waiting for you here, John," she 
said, and then sat silent, holding his hand in hers. 
She was timid in the presence of his sorrow, so 
different from what she thought, and yet so much 
greater than she could know. "This grief should 
be mine also, John," she said at last. "I would 
help you bear it." 

" No, dearest, you will have your own to bear, 
and they will be heavy enough. Promise me that 
whatever comes you will not try to carry mine." 
He took her face in his hands and looked bravely 
and tenderly into her eyes. "Promise me, my 
beautiful. " 

"I can't, John; the words we said together that 
day make it impossible. Your sorrows are to be 
mine forever. Where would be the sweetness of 
loving if it were not so } " 

" Forgive me, forgive me, darling. I made you 
say them. Oh, forgive me ! " He bowed his head 
and walked wearily away. 

In the garden Hanford was waiting for him. 
"Let me do anything for you that must be done," 
he said kindly. "Are there telegrams to be 
sent .? " 

^'None. She had no friends," he said bitterly, 



4o8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

shaking off the friendly hand on his shoulder, and 
walked on. Instantly he turned back. " Forgive 
me ; I have a heavier load to bear than you dream 
of. Yes. Take care of all these things for me, 
and — well — you will know what to do. She is to 
be laid beside my father, of course." He wrung 
the hand held out to him. " You have always been 
more than a friend to me, Hanford," and he walked 
away. Again he turned back. " Let the funeral 
be soon, — immediately the arrangements can be 
made. We must relieve the family of the gloom 
as soon as possible." 

Faint and exhausted, he went to his room and 
lay down. Presently came a gentle knock at his 
door. He opened it, and there stood Miss Kath- 
erine with his breakfast, the fragrant coffee steam- 
ing in her daintiest china. 

** You were not down to breakfast with us," she 
said, "and I thought you might not be well." 
Then looking up she noted his face and started. 
"John, what is it.^ Tell me." 

He could not open his lips yet upon his terrible 
secret. He took the tray from her and placed it 
on the table. "She is dead," was all he said. 

"Who is, John? Have you been out this morn- 
ing, and without your breakfast ? " Strange to 
say, she thought first of Portia; the death of his 
mother it was reasonable to expect, but the expres- 
sion of his face seemed to go beyond a reasonable 
grief. How could he answer her.'* He could not 
say of the woman who was gone, " my mother; " the 
sweetness of that word, to utter, would never 
be his again. 



A Bitter Cup 409 

"My father's wife. She is dead; is to be laid by 
his side at last." 

"Your mother.'' But that was to be expected, 
John," she said in tenderest reproof. "You should 
not grieve so now that she suffers no more. Eat ; 
you have been without food too long. Where were 
you at supper ^ " 

"I — I don't know. Oh, yes, I remember. 
Yes, I will eat now. I need food. I don't seem 
to be able to talk now." 

She busied herself pouring his coffee and plac- 
ing his plate. Her eyes swam in tears, but she 
said nothing. He was touched by her sympathetic 
silence. 

" In my boyhood I brought my troubles to you, 
Katherine; but now, sweet as your friendship is, I 
have one I must bear alone." 

" You may think you are bearing it alone, but 
you won't be, John." 

"That is the bitterness of it," he cried, and 
bowed his head in his hand. "Good God! if I 
could only bear it alone!" 

Why, John, is n't that almost wicked.? " 
No, it is righteous." 

But, John, in this house you are in Donald's 
place. Would you have it otherwise .-* " 

He could not answer her. His tongue clove to 
his mouth, and he moistened his lips with water. 
"To-morrow, no, the day after, we — we will talk. 
After she is laid away. Now I cannot, only of your 
goodness to me, — yours and your mother's." 

" No, not of that. Eat now, and when you can, 
come down to ma; she will know what to say." 



(I 
it 



41 o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

John was right. There are paths where man 
must tread alone. No human soul can go with 
him into the deeps, and only God can send light 
to his feet. That day, and the next, and the 
next, crept painfully, heavily by, like mourners 
in a funeral train. Then John gathered himself 
together to meet the future. 

" Shall you take up your profession again, Han- 
ford .-* " he asked, when the earth had fallen at 
last, covering her whom all his life he had called 
mother. 

" I am thinking of it. And you ? " 

" If you were, I was thinking I would ask you — 
my friend — my more than friend — " He stopped. 
His voice was hard and his lips were dry. How 
could he tell his bitter secret, which had not yet 
been told — but tell it he must. " I would ask you 
to take charge of some business for me, if you were 
— that I can trust to no one else. May we go to 
my room.-* I have all my papers there." 

And there, in Donald's old room, John learned, 
as few in this world ever do learn, the value of a 
friend. After it was all over, and the secret told, 
and Hanford gone, John tried to write to Portia. 
Once and again he took the pen, but his hand 
trembled, and he laid it down. Finally, finding 
his weakness greater than his strength, knowing 
what he must do, but holding back, he fell on his 
knees. He found no words in which to speak to 
his Creator; only in his heart was one cry, — 
"Christ, Thou hast suffered; Thou too!" and this 
cry of his heart seemed to bring him the calmness 
he needed. Once more he took up the pen and 



A Bitter Cup 41 1 

simply and truly told her the story of his life, and 
how at last the* truth had been revealed to him. 

"And now, beautiful spirit whom I love, turn 
from me. My life has been a dream, an unreality. 
I have usurped from another who has been de- 
graded in my place. Let me drop out of your life 
as dreams drop out of the heart they have stirred 
and troubled. Weep for me, beautiful Portia, but 
be not sorrowful for me overmuch, — let me die in 
thy tears. My love for thee is all that lives within 
me. I am leaving forever. No one shall know 
whither I go. Beautiful, pure soul, thy life may \y^ 
not be linked with a stain. I stay for nothing, for 
to be near thee is torture, even unto death. I may 
not call thee my beautiful, mine, although it is 
still in my heart to say it; but do for me one thing 
that I ask of thee. Mr. Clark will tell thee what 
it is. Do it, that I may know how great was thy 
love. All the happiness I built for thee, I cannot 
have it shattered. This that I ask of thee is all 
the pleasure left me. Do what he asks of thee. 
I fear for thee, dearest, when thou art lonely ; 
when thy heart is sad for me, remember that I live 
only in my love for thee, — but never seek to find 
me. This burden I must bear alone, and thou, 
dear heart, must be free. No power on earth — 
Oh, Portia! my life, my beautiful, I sinned when 
I wrung those words from thee. Forgive me, and 
take them back. Oh, God ! that I should love thee 
thus, and turn my face away from thee forever ! " 

He folded and addressed the letter and sealed 
it, and went out in the dusk and mailed it, fearing 
his own weakness if he kept it in his possession, 



412 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Later he strolled out in the darkness. He would 
go to her and say farewell, telling her nothing but 
that he must go immediately to New York. 

As he neared the house he heard her singing 
snatches of the song he heard her singing first. 
He still had her music, but she sang bits from 
memory. She was alone, and hoping he might 
come. He sat on the edge of the fountain, as 
before, so long ago it seemed to him now. Pres- 
ently the singing ceased, and she came to the 
door, looking out into the darkness, as if he had 
called her. 

"I am here, Portia." She came out to him. "I 
am listening to you as I listened to you so long 
ago, love. I was too sad to come in, for I am 
only here to say good-bye to you. I must go to 
New York immediately." 

"To New York, John .? " 

"Yes, at midnight. It is important." 

"What a pity! when we are to go together in so 
short a time." What a sweet ring in her voice! 
He could not trust himself to go with her into the 
lighted room. 

"Come, bring a wrap and walk with me here in 
the starlight." 

She brought the same little white shawl he had 
folded her in so often, and once again he placed it 
about her, and once again her pulses quickened at 
his touch. She felt that he was sad ; it was but 
natural. Ah, little she thought she was walking 
beside a tortured soul, — that every bright and 
hopeful thing she said cut him to the heart. She 
tried to divert him from his grief by telling him 



A Bitter Cup 41 3 

all the pretty little details of the preparations she 
was making for his wedding, and what Marguerite 
was doing and saying. 

" Marguerite is so buoyant. She grieves ; but 
now, since she has given herself up to her lover, 
she is simply irresistible. It will be the marvel 
of my life that you could have been such a foolish 
John. I can see no reason for it except that I 
might be made happy." 

" You must always love her, for my sake. No 
matter what comes to me, love her. Will you ? 
The time may come when she will be a great com- 
fort to you. " 

" How could I help it, John.?" Then she told 
him of her wedding dress. " It is done, but you 
are not to see it until I wear it, Mr. John." 

He could bear it no longer. He had meant to 
say only a hurried good-bye, and he had lingered 
too long. He felt he had no right to touch her. 
She was never to be his. 

" I must take you back to the house now, for I 
must go." Presently they stood beside the foun- 
tain. "When are you going to shut it off.-*" he 
asked, trying to still the tumult within by saying 
commonplaces. 

" I must have it done to-morrow, before a freeze 



comes." 



He took a jewel from his breast which he had 
purchased for his marriage gift to her. "Take this 
from me now, Portia. Will you always wear it for 
me? If — if — anything should happen to me, my 
beautiful — let me pin it on you." 

"Nothing must happen to you, John; nothing 



414 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

must — if anything should — and you should never 
come back to me — John, I would die." 

He caught his breath, and his hands trembled so 
that he could not fasten the pin, and she did it for 
him. Then he kissed her, and turned away with- 
out another word. She stood with her hands still 
on the pin. After a moment she heard his steps 
returning, and went to meet him. 

"What is it, John?" 

"I — I forgot to leave a farewell message for 
your mother and grandfather and for — Marguerite. 
I have not told her I was going." 

Then the strong hold he had set upon himself 
gave way, and for an instant she felt as if a whirl- 
wind had seized her. She felt the kisses rained 
upon her face, hot and fast, upon her lips, her 
eyes, her cheeks. She felt herself helpless in his 
grasp, stunned by his vehemence; for in his heart 
he was saying with every kiss, " It is the last, the . 
last forever." He took the white shawl from her 
shoulders. " Give this to me. I have wrapped 
you in it so often, let me keep it." And when he 
was gone she felt that he was weeping, and the 
tears leaped to her own eyes. Something was 
wrong with him, that he could not tell. What 
was this sudden going away.? With heavy fore- 
boding she turned into the house to weary herself 
all night long with fruitless questionings. 

Next morning a small package and two letters 
came to Portia as her share of the mail. She took 
them to her room. One of the letters was John's. 
She recognized the hand, and kissed it, but laid it 
one side to read more at leisure, and opened the 



A Bitter Cup 415 

package and the other letter. They were from 
Mr. Russell. The dear old man had heard of her 
approaching marriage and had sent her the jewels 
he had hoped she might one day wear for him. 
As she was taking them from the box, her mother 
entered. She held them up to the light, — a neck- 
lace of diamonds, and a chain of rarest antique 
workmanship, and a beautiful jewelled watch. Her 
cheeks flushed. 

" Oh, mother, how beautiful ! — but — but — 
should I accept them ? What would John say } 
Here is Mr. Russell's letter. What a pretty letter 
it is! Read it, and look at these while I read 
John's." 

She tore off the envelope and threw herself in a 
chair, and as she read the color left her cheeks, 
then her lips; but she read it through to the very 
end. When Mrs. Van Ostade looked up from the 
letter she was reading, she was frightened at the 
expression on her daughter's face. Portia sat rigid, 
as if seized with a catalepsy, — the letter sheets in 
her lap, her hands folded upon them. 

"Portia, what is it.-* " Her mother came to her 
side, but she did not move. " Portia, speak ! " 
She did not answer. Her mother began chafing 
her hands, for they were stiff and cold, and called 
for help. Marguerite came with eyes red from 
crying. Hanford had been telling her the truth. 
She knew what had come upon Portia, — that a 
sword had pierced her through. They laid her 
upon a couch, and for hours labored to arouse her, 
to bring the tears to her eyes. 

" Portia, look at me, dear. Cry a little. Cry as 



41 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

I do, dear," said Marguerite, piteously, kneeling at 
her side. " Oh ! if she only could ! " 

Finally they sent for Miss Katherine. Another 
face, another voice, might help. 

" Ma, they are in trouble. Perhaps you would 
better go too," said Miss Katherine. "You can 
speak to her as we can't." So the blind woman 
went and sat by Portia's side, and placed her hand 
on her head, and after a while the blessed tears 
came, and they all withdrew, and left them alone 
together. 

"Oh, Hanford, is there nothing we can do.'*" 
said Marguerite. 

" No, darling, we cannot change what is nor what 
has been." 

"What has John done? " 

" He has divided all he has, and left half in my 
hands for Portia's use." 

" The noble fellow ! " 

" And he has left her, to go — no one knows 
where." 

Marguerite broke forth in a fresh outburst of 
grief. 

"And he has left instructions that if your aunt 
has left anything to him in her will, as she un- 
doubtedly has, it is to be given to Chesterfield." 

"Of course, that is right," she sobbed. "Where 
has he gone, Hanford ? " 

"No one knows, darling, but he will write to me. 
I made him promise me that, and he did it on con- 
dition that I would not reveal his whereabouts." 

" Hanford, I wish they could have married before 
he found it out." 



a 



A Bitter Cup 417 

Hanford groaned. "Would to God that poor 
humanity were not so frail, — that they could look 
at the spirit through the temple it inhabits, — 
what is wealth or caste or color compared with the 
worth of a soul? Good God! How long, how 
long!" He bowed his head in his hands. 

Marguerite knelt at her lover's side and looked 
into his eyes. "Hanford, if she loves him as I 
love you, I know what she will do." 

Do you, darling.? " he said, drawing her to him. 
Yes, and I am going to tell her so too." 
No, no. Marguerite, such questions as these 
the heart must wrestle with alone. We can only 
wait." They sat in silence for a time, then Han- 
ford spoke again, for she was sobbing on his 
shoulder. " For us, we will be married, Mar- 
guerite, and then we will watch over her and love 
her for John's sake. Shall we.? " 

"Yes, Hanford." 

The next morning Portia stood in her mother's 
room, "clothed and in her right mind." Her 
grandfather sat in his chair, bowed down with 
sorrow for her. 

"Grandfather," she said, "don't be so sad. I 
will be brave." Then kneeling at her mother's 
feet she laid her head in her lap as of old. " Oh, 
mother, dear mother, what shall I do?" 

Her mother laid her hand on her head. " No 
one can help you, Portia, only God." 



27 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE JUDGMENT OF PORTIA 

AS the days passed slowly away, Portia went 
about her accustomed duties, not complain- 
ingly nor silently, yet a pallor had crept into her 
face and her joyous buoyancy was gone. A note 
had come into her voice strange to them all. 

"If it were I, I should cry my eyes out; but 
then just her voice makes me sad. It sounds like 
tears held back. I only wish she would cry or do 
some desperate thing. I should." 

"Marguerite," said Portia, one day, "I wish you 
and Hanford would be married without waiting any 
longer. I want to see you happy before any ter- 
rible thing comes between you." 

"Don't think of it, Portia. Why should any- 
thing come between us ? " 

"Ah! but don't you see.? We felt safe too, a 
short time ago, — so safe Perhaps I am only ner- 
vous." When Marguerite told Hanford of Portia's 
request, he said, " Let us be married now, as she 
says. The sadness of her looking forward to it 
will be passed then. We will go away for a few 
weeks and not be always before her." 

So they were quietly married, and the light of 
Marguerite's joyous presence was gone from the 
house for a time, and Portia sat alone in her room 
with her head in her hands, thinking, thinking. 

418 



The Judgment of Portia 419 

It seemed to her she should die of the horror of 
great darkness that she felt settling down upon her. 

"There are millions and millions of other peo- 
ples in the world more than there are of us," she 
cried in her heart. "Are we the only ones God 
loves.'' Then why did he make them.-' Why are 
they allowed to live and multiply.-* Do they have 
souls like us.-* Then why do we hate them and 
loathe them.? Did Christ feel as we do .'* Why 
didst thou .do this thing, Lord.? What have I 
done, Father, that thou hast done this thing.? 
What has he done.? Thou didst create him, thou 
didst give him to me. Why must we suffer — 
wherein have we sinned .? " 

"Portia," said her mother one day, "you are in 
the house too much, dear. You will be ill." 

"Yes, mother, I am going out this morning, to 
ride." And she did; she rode over in the direc- 
tion of Mammy Clarissa's cabin, being, as it were, 
drawn irresistibly thither. It was the first time 
she had used the little brown horse since John 
went away. She tied the creature to the small 
sapling near the door, and petted its brown neck 
and laid her cheek against its velvety nose. 

"Oh, Brownie, I love you!" she said pitifully, 
and went into the cabin. 

Old Clarissa was lying upon the best bed at last, 
alone, fading away. A smouldering fire still glowed 
in the black fireplace, and the little window shutter 
was open. The light from the window streamed 
across her face, and over her wrinkled hands lying 
folded on the patchwork counterpane. All was 
swept and tidied, for Gabriella had been in and 



420 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

set things straight before she had left for a day's 
washing in the village. 

The old woman seemed to have been sleeping, 
for she turned her head and looked at Portia in a 
dazed way as she stood there. 

"Why, honey," she said feebly, at last, "I nuvva 
did n' know yo' stan'in' dar. " She tried to rise, 
but lay back again. "I kyan' git up fo' wait on 
yo' no mo'. Jes' yo' take a cheer, honey." 

"Yes, mammy, yes. I can wait on myself." 

"I ain' seed yo' fo' a mighty long time." 
Clarissa closed her eyes and lay quite still, as if 
she had wandered off again. 

Portia sat down in the old woman's chair, for 
her knees trembled and it seemed as if she should 
fall. Then she rose and stood by the bedside, 
looking down on the wasted figure and frail, 
pinched face before her. A strange feeling of des- 
perate misery possessed her for a moment, as if 
she could crush out the poor frail life of the un- 
witting cause of it. Then the pathetic truth crept 
into her heart with its softening power, and she 
was overwhelmed with the sadness of it all. Old 
Clarissa lay so still Portia felt the awe stealing 
over her that one feels in the presence of death, 
until a gentle, sighing breath denoted that it was 
not death, but only the quiet sleep of weakness. 

Through the wrinkles and pallor she noted the 
fine lines of the old face. What must this woman 
once have been.? What was her inheritance.'* A 
slave, but beautiful, strong, lithe, — there was 
grace still in her hands as they lay clasping some- 
thing between the thin fingers. An assortment of 



The Judgment of Portia 421 

articles was laid out on the counterpane within 
reach of them. Evidently her cherished keepsakes 
had been placed there for her amusement during 
Gabriella's absence, — a bright-colored pasteboard 
box, and a silver thimble, a little mother-of-pearl 
cross, and a ring of gold, with two hearts engraved 
on it, a pair of ear-rings, with pendant hoops, and 
a string of blue porcelain beads. Wrapped around 
a little pebble, with a hole in it, were a bit of 
lace and a faded brocade ribbon. 

While Portia still stood wondering what might 
be the mystery of her life, and what she held so 
closely, — why she had been allowed to cross her 
path and come between her and the sunlight of 
her hopes, the old slave looked up as if she saw 
her now for the first time. 

"Why, honey, is yo' dar.-^ Take a cheer, chile." 
Again she tried to rise, but sank back as before. 
"I declar' I 's pow'ful weak, honey; I kyan' git up 
fo' wait on yo'." 

"There, mammy, never mind," said Portia, gently. 
"Tell me what you are doing with these things. 
How long have you been ill ? You ought to have 
sent me word about it. " 

"Laws, honey, I ain' sick; I jes' gwine home at 
las', I reckon. I done be'n wait'n' heah fo' young 
Mars'r John tu come in. 'Pears like he a mighty 
long time comin'." The old eyes closed wearily, 
and Portia, dreading to have her lose consciousness 
again, spoke quickly. 

"Mr. Marshall has gone away, mammy; I don't 
know where he is." Portia felt as if she were 
choking, and put her hand to her throat. " Oh, 



42 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

Clarissa," she cried at last, "I don't know where 
he is, — you can tell me. You are going to the God 
who made you, — who made him, — and all of us — 
there you can see him wherever he is, — can't you 
almost see him now? Where is he?" She knelt 
by the bed and covered her face with her hands, — 
shame, despair, grief, overwhelming her. 

Thoroughly roused by Portia's vehemence, the 
old woman raised herself on one elbow, and gazed 
at the bright young head bowed in passionate grief, 
in astonishment. 

Then she laid her hand tenderly on Portia's hair, 
and her old eyes shone with a strange gleam, and 
her wan face grew radiant as a faint glimmering of 
the truth crept into her soul. 

"Why, honey, chile, 'pears like yo' grievin' fo' 
young Mars' r John tu." She felt over the bed 
covers for that which she held in her hands when 
Portia came in. It was a small oval miniature 
exquisitely painted on ivory and surrounded by a 
gold frame of the finest workmanship. " Heah 
't is, honey. I 'lowed I 'd done los' hit — my h'a't 
took sech a jump — hit nerved me so, — I 's pow'ful 
weak, honey." 

Portia rose and took the picture with trembling 
hands. "What is it, mammy?" 

"Das' Mars'r Gen'l Ma'shall he's ownse'f, chile, 
— young Mars'r John's fadah, honey; de ve'y 
sp'it 'n' image o' he's fadah, de way he done look 
dat time he come 'long an' pay de money fo' me, 
an' tuk me off'nde block 'long home wid 'im dat 
time. Yo' look at hit, chile; yo' eyes young an' 
sha'p, I reckon. I ain' seed hit fo' mighty long 



The Judgment of Portia 423 

while back, my eyes be'n so pore; but hit de ve'y 
p'it 'n' image o' Gen'l Mars'r John, hit are." 
Portia took it over to the open shutter, the one 
small square of light in the dusky room, and 
scanned the delicate lines of the painting eagerly. 
There it was, undisguised by the old-fashioned 
costume and cut of hair, — there was the likeness 
to her lover. Different, yet strangely like. More 
dreaminess about the eyes, less alert and sharply 
cut than the face of the present; but still there 
was a strength of character and dignity in all the 
lineaments, showing a noble ancestry. 

"Where did you get this, mammy.?" she said 
huskily. 

"I jes' tuk hit, honey. Ol' miz lef mighty 
suddent aftah dat time Mars'r Gen'l done brung. 
home f om de wah, she did. She ain' mo' 'n git 
back f'om de grabe, w'en she begin pack up, an' 
we-all war 'bleeged tu help. I done heahed her 
tell Miz Wells she 'low'd we-all wuz gwine be sot 
free nex' t'ing come, an' she gwine tek all but de 
good-fo'-nuttin' ones 'long daown Cuba way tu her 
faddah's plantation. She 'lowed we 'd be wuth mo' 
there 'n we be wuth heah." Poor Clarissa paused 
from weakness, but Portia could not let her rest. 

"Go on, mammy, go on. Tell me more; tell 
me about this," she said, still gazing at the pic- 
ture, fascinated by the dreamy likeness to the one 
she loved. 

"'Bouts dat, honey.? 01' miz lef dat on her 
table in her own room. Dat de onliest t'ing she 
lef in de whole haouse, 'cept'n' me. I done lock 
myse'f in de closet dat time de ova'seer chain up 



424 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

de niggahs fo' tek 'em 'long. She nuvva try de 
do'. I lay dar two days 'daout nuffin' tu eat, an' 
I nuvva breave ha'dly, lest she hyah me, an' tek me 
long. Josephus, he wan' no 'count dem days 'daout 
me, an' Chas he done run 'way, so she nuvva tuk dem 
neider. She nuvva cotch we-uns, naw 'm. I heahed 
'em holla an' call, an' I lay still. I heah'd her 
say, ' Leah go callin'. She mount a fotch a 
heap, but dar, she done sp'ile long 'go. Anyhow, 
we kyan' sell niggers no mo', I reckon. Let her 
stay an' starve.' Ol' miz she keer mo' fo' de 
dollah dan she keer fo' Gen'l Mars'r John or her 
own soul, I reckon so. Honey, I 's pow'ful dry." 

The water in the cabin was warm and stale, and 
Portia took a cup and hurried down the winding 
path to the spring bubbling out of a rock and 
brought some that was fresh and cool. Out in 
the sunshine her courage came back to her. She 
ceased to tremble, and as she bent over the old 
woman and held the water to her lips her heart 
grew tender toward her, and a peace came to her 
which she had not felt before, which she had 
thought was forever gone from her. 

''Drink, mammy. This is cool and nice. Now 
try to think. Tell me all you want me to do. 
Why did you give me this.-*" 

"I wan' yo' tu give dat tu young Mars'r John, 
honey. I done kep' hit fo' him, an' heah I lyin' 
wait'n' fo' him come git hit, an' see he's ol' 
mammy once mo'. I done tol' de troof, an' 'fess 
'fo' de Lawd, an' now I gwine be 'lowed tu pass, I 
reckon. I kyan' wait fo' him no longer. Honey, 
tell 'im dat ar' de ve'y sp'it 'n' image o' he's 



The Judgment of Portia 425 

fadah; like he done look w'en he young like 
he are." 

"But I don't know where he is, mammy." 

"Yo' kin fin' 'im, chile, yo' young an' spry. I 
ain' seed nobody pearter. Look a-heah, honey, 
likely he done gone tu he's paw's twin brudder 
in San F'ncisco, wha' done brung 'im up all dese 
yeahs." 

Portia's heart leaped within her. Why had she 
not thought of that ? In the same instant she 
perceived the truth, that no heart clings so close 
to another as a mother's to her son, be she of what- 
ever race or color. 

"Honey, I lub dat boy lak I kyan' tell yo' how 
I lub dat boy, — mo' 'n I lub my own soul, I reckon. 
Yo' tell 'im dat, honey." 

"Yes, mammy, yes. Now you rest." Portia 
smoothed the pillow and straightened the bed 
clothing, and then after a little search found some 
milk, which she warmed over the embers and gave 
the old woman to drink, 

" Yo' 's pow'ful good tu ol' mammy, chile." 

"I am doing this for your boy too, Cl'issy." 

"Yo' 's pow'ful good, honey." 

Portia left her quietly sleeping, but old Clarissa 
never woke again in this world. 

All the next day Portia spent in her room alone, 
and the next morning she appeared at the break- 
fast table composed and cheerful. Hanford and 
Marguerite had returned and were to spend some 
time longer there, when Hanford would go to New 
York and resume his business. Portia seemed to 
them to have regained, in large measure, her old 



426 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

manner and chceriness. After the meal was over 
they all stayed chatting together pleasantly; and 
Portia, slipping her arm about her mother, said 
caressingly, — 

" Mamma deary, can you and grandfather get 
along without me for a while ? I want to go away 
somewhere. I hardly know where nor for how 
long, but I just want to go. I will write to you 
and telegraph you every day if you wish, so don't 
think I am going to run away entirely," she said, 
noting a look of alarm in her mother's face and 
laughing a little. Then she turned to Hanford : 
"You will look after grandpapa and little mother 
for me, will you not, Mr. Clark ? — you and 
Marguerite." 

Marguerite sprang up and threw her arms about 
Portia's neck. "Oh, you darling, you darling! I 
knew you would do it. Yes, we will. Of course 
we will, won't we, Hanford.'*" 

Portia kissed her. " How do you know what I am 
going to do, dear.'* I hardly know myself yet. 
But I will write and tell you all I do, surely." 

"Whatever you do will be right, Portia," said 
her grandfather. " I am always sure of you. " 

"But, daughter," said her mother, anxiously, 
"you won't, — you will let us know very soon 
where you are, will you not } " 

"Mother dear, don't worry about me, don't. I 
have travelled alone before, and you never thought 
of being troubled. I have put on your desk a plan 
of the places I may go to, and if I change my 
course, as I may, I will telegraph you immediately, 
so you never need be in doubt about me. Really, 



The Judgment of Portia 427 

I am quite sane, and happier than I have been for 
weeks. This time trust me, as grandfather does." 

"Yes, dear, you know I do." 

" And mamma, I — have arranged — affairs; you 
will find enough for everything while I am away. 
It 's all right. I am sure this is best." 

Mr. Ridgeway rose hurriedly and walked over to 
the window. The time was when he could have 
saved her all thought of that. He gazed over the 
landscape for a moment and drummed on the sill 
nervously, then he walked back to her chair, and 
bending down kissed her on the cheek. "We can 
spare you for a little while, but not long," he said. 

She took his face between her two hands. " You 
treasure of a grandfather," she said. "Mamma, 
my trunk is packed; I did it yesterday. And, 
grandfather, will you call Alexander to bring the 
carriage.? I will run out and see Maggie a moment 
and then be ready. The train leaves at ten, does 
it not, Mr. Clark ? " 

She seemed quite like herself again as she left 
the room with the old spring, in her step; and as 
she bade them a cheery good-bye, they all felt that 
to have arrived at a plan of action was for her at 
least salutary. 

Hanford accompanied her to the station; but 
she said little of her plans except : " I have de- 
cided to use some of the money John wished me 
to have." It was the first time she had spoken his 
name aloud to any one except in old Clarissa's 
cabin, and her face became crimson, and she turned 
her head away that he might not see. 

"Yes," he said at last, "that is right; it is as he 



428 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

would have wished." He spoke as he felt, as if 
his friend had departed from this life, and Portia 
laughed out a nervous, reckless little laugh ; but it 
served to lighten the tension under which they felt 
themselves. 

"No, no. John is not dead," she said. "I shall 
find him. I could not use it for anything else, you 
know that, and I am going to ask you — • " 

"He has not written me yet; I could not tell 
you where he is, even if I were not — " 

" I was not going to ask that. I would not even 
if he had written. No. But I will find him if it 
takes every cent ; if I have to work my way through 
the world to do it. I was going to speak about 
mother and grandfather. I — " 

"I will be a son to them; do not fear," he said 
tenderly. 

"I believe you." She gave him her hand as he 
helped her from the carriage. " You are a true 
friend to John and a good brother to me. I accept 
your kindness, but you can never know how much 
it is to me. Good-bye. I trust them to you for a 
time. Believe me, I have thought well over what 
I am doing. Good-bye." 

They were a little late, and she stepped on to the 
train without going into the station. He turned 
instinctively to look whether her trunk had been 
left behind, but no. She had attended to that and 
her ticket the evening before. He smiled as he 
gazed at the retreating train. 

"She 's all right," he said to himself. "What- 
ever comes, her head is level. I wonder if she 
knows, herseM, just where she is going." 



The Judgment of Portia 429 

Hardly did she know. She was feeling her 
way rather. It seemed to her as the train rushed 
through the tunnels and deep cuts among the hills, 
and over gorges and precipices, winding in and 
out among the very mountain peaks, that she was 
being borne by some mighty power, at its own 
volition, whether she would or no; like a maiden 
in a fairy tale, taken from her home in sleep by 
some awful genie and carried swiftly on through 
space, to reach at last an enchanted castle and be 
awakened by a lover's kiss. 

She leaned back on the cushions and closed her 
eyes. "Let me think," she said. But she did not 
think, she was only dreaming; looking into her 
lover's eyes, beautiful now with the light of self- 
renunciation, — touching his hand, — feeling him 
near her, — think? why should she think? she had 
done her thinking the day before; now she might 
dream and drift, moving on to the fulfilment of 
that which she had already calmly determined 
upon. Natures like Portia's can afford to some- 
times dream and live in an ecstasy of the imagina- 
tion. They have earned the right to this highest 
indulgence of the spirit by the practical energy of 
their lives, the care and faithfulness with which 
they have met and overcome difficulties, and battled 
with the commonplace. 

Although she had many acquaintances in the 
city, she determined to go directly to the hotel 
where John usually stopped when not with friends 
and learn if he had been there. She knew he 
would not be with friends of the past, — indeed, 
might not have been in the city at all, — there 



430 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

were many other places where he might have been 
staying, but he had said New York when he left, 
so she went there first. " I have nothing but my 
woman's intuition to guide me so I will be guided 
by that," she said, — not a bad thing to trust to 
upon occasion, as Portia found. 

All the deadened numbness of spirit under which 
she had labored for the last weeks had left her, 
and she arrived braced for any emergency. Had 
John Marshall been in New York.'* She would 
know if she had to look over every hotel register 
in the city. 

She went where they were to have gone on their 
wedding journey, and there she was spared this 
disagreeable detective duty. He had been there 
and had left only three days before. She secured 
a room and locked herself up to think. Yes, he 
had been here during the whole of the last week, 
alone, where they were to have been together. 
While she was kneeling at the bedside of old 
Clarissa he had been here thinking of her. Now 
what should she do.? Inaction was terrible. She 
must go. She must follow, even to the ends of 
the earth. She paced restlessly up and down the 
room. 

" Where has he been all this time.? But there, 
it will do no good to know that. He has been 
here and he has gone." She wrung her hands. 
" Which way shall I turn now ? " 

Suddenly she threw herself on her knees and 
covered her face with her hands. The splendid 
poise of her nature seemed to be leaving her. She 
felt so alone, her human limitations so narrow. 



\ 






The Judgment of Portia 431 

the veil of the future seemed drawn so closely 
about her and to be so impenetrable and dark, she 
became, as it were, caught up out of herself and 
lifted toward her Creator. 
J^' Souls who have loved intensely, they alone can 
feel this irresistible drawing power, and through 
it the touch of the Divine. Love opens the flood- 
gates of heaven and unlocks the heart for the 
light to stream in. Love leads the soul to God by 
I the straightest, swiftest way. That which we call i y 
\ woman's intuition is usually^ o'dXy her quick re- 
isponse to Love's leading. \J^}y^M^ i^ /L4 ' ^ 
^ When Portia rose from her knees, her face was 
radiant with a new beauty. She began to do little 
commonplace things, — shaking out her dresses 
and arranging a few small articles on her dressing- 
case and mantle, singing softly as she moved 
about. "I shall be leaving to-morrow, but it will 
be just as well to do this," she said. Lying just 
under the edge of the wardrobe, she spied a small 
red leather notebook. It had a familiar look, and 
she picked it up quickly, brushing the dust from 
the smooth, pocket-worn cover. It was what any 
man might have dropped and lost sight of. She 
turned the leaves and glanced at the few memo- 
randa it contained. They were in John's hand, 
and, yes, here was the page on which she had 
jotted down for him once a few measures of a song 
she wished him to get for her. She could not 
remember the name, only a few bars, she had heard 
sung; and here, under her careless little notes, he 
had written two words, "Bless her." She sank 
down in a low rocker, clasping the little book 



432 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

tightly in her hands. Here, in this very room ! 
Only three days ago ! Surely she should find him. 
Where should she go first ? 

He would be sure, sooner or later, to go to those 
who had stood in the place of his parents for so 
many years. At least he would write to them. 
Should she wait and write.? No, there was noth- 
ing to do but to take the long journey. She must 
see them and know them. Strangers though they 
were to her, she must turn to them for help. 

Portia spent the days and nights of her trip 
across the continent in continual pondering over 
the great problem of life and its complications. 
Her heart ached for humanity, deeply stirred 
through her love for her lover. All along the 
miles upon miles of prairie land, lacking now the 
beauty of the waving sea of green of the spring- 
time, and on, across the barren alkali plains, where 
the bones of dead cattle lay bleaching, or the 
wreck of an emigrant wagon flapped in the never- 
ceasing breeze its tattered covering, waving its 
rags, like thin brown hands, with long attenuated 
fingers, mutely wrung in woful lament over those 
who had gone on in hunger and pain, leaving the 
wreck behind them, still to follow the treacher- 
ous ignis fatinis of gold to their doom, Portia, rapt 
in her own thoughts, sat silent, unheeding those 
around her. She gazed out of the window, at the 
flying, shifting monotony of the scene, until her 
heart as well as her eyes ached. At the eating 
stations she looked into the faces of the rough 
miners, or was importuned by a copper-colored 
squaw to look at her pappoose and give her a silver 



The Judgment of Portia 433 

piece for the privilege. She noted the half-breeds 
lounging about the stations, and the deft Chinese, 
laboring and chattering together in their musical 
sing-song, and more heavily and more insistently 
the great problem of life forced itself on her. 

Why were all these created ? For what end all 
this struggle, this searching for gold, this squalor 
and degradation? These women, whose great 
hungry eyes, like the eyes of animals, looked into 
hers eagerly, for a smile for the babies at their 
backs; these stolid men, whose only motive in life 
seemed to be merely to exist, — for what end ? 

A little girl timidly offered her a bit of pottery. 
She bought it and carried it back with her into the 
train, and here, in this piece of rudely shaped, and 
decorated, and unevenly burnt clay she found the 
answer to all her questionings. This little Indian 
child was her teacher, for she saw in the little jar 
she had bought, the shaping, creating hand, the 
imagining mind. And in the embryotic chaos of 
ideas displayed in the strange, symbolic design and 
coloring of the decoration she saw the aspiration 
of a soul, — a reaching, striving, yes, even an 
attaining soul. 

"And these are our brothers and sisters," she \ 

thought. " The great Caucasian race must stoop to 

these before it can rise higher. They have reached 

the boundary line past which they cannot move 

toward God-likeness until they have learned to 

place God's estimate of value on a human soul, of 

whatever race or condition. The value of a human 

soul — God's estimate — then these must be lifted 

up before we can rise out of the grovelling, man- 
28 



434 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

made standards we have set up for ourselves. Can 
a small part of humanity be culled out from the 
whole to be raised up to God's image, and the rest 
lie where they are and die ? " 

She looked toward the setting sun, where a dis- 
tant peak of the Rockies stood out like burnished 
gold against a molten sky, and above it the rays 
of light streamed upward like a flaming cross, 
lifted and held over the earth by a mighty, unseen 
hand. 

"And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto 
me." The words repeated themselves in her heart. 
" All men — all men — not we alone, because we 
are white, — all men. These must be lifted up, — 
all these." As the train rushed on, the monotonous 
rhythm of its motion seemed to beat out these 
words in continual chant. "All men — all men — 
not we alone." 

From her bosom she drew the ivory miniature, 
and again she studied it. The face of her lover 
masquerading in old-time costume looked out 
at her as from a tiny window. The charm of 
strong, beautiful young manhood was in that face, 
— a pride and a fineness born of generations of 
patrician ancestry ; and this one, this beautiful 
one, had stooped from his high, God-given position 
to the slave; and so, after all these years, the eyes 
that looked out of the tiny window into hers were 
those, not of the father, but of the son, the child 
of the slave, — -her lover's eyes. The tears came, 
one by one, and she furtively wiped them away, 
and wrapping the picture in a little lace-trimmed 
handkerchief she placed it back in the bosom of 



The Judgment of Portia 435 

her dress, and the train rushed on over the long, 
monotonous desert, rumbling the same chant. 
Should she find him at last at the end of her jour- 
ney, the one she loved ? 

The last day was the longest day of all the five. 
How slowly the train seemed to drag its weary 
length along! Her heart beat high, and her cheeks 
were flushed. She scarcely noticed the beauty of 
the scenes through which she passed. As the land- 
scape flashed by, she thought vaguely of the evanes- 
cence of all things. 

"Everything will pass, all will go by like this, 
and there will be nothing left of us but our spirits. 
We shall have only what we are. The standards of 
the world are not just; they are hard and cruel. 
I am glad they are to pass away. I am glad we 
are to be judged by the merciful justice of God at 
the last, and not by each other." As she leaned 
wearily back and closed her eyes, it seemed to her 
as if she were really passing out of one world into 
another, and then suddenly there was the stir and 
bustle about her of the arrival, and she was at the 
end of her journey. 

She rose and passed out with the crowd. No 
one to meet her, none in the city, unless John 
were there, whom she even knew; but somewhere 
in the great busy place were two whom he loved. 
She rested only an hour in the hotel, and then set 
out on the search. In one of the finest of the older 
residences, on one of the hills of that city of hills, 
she found them. Roses and fuchsias climbed up 
the side of the old house, and round the piazza and 
windows, and geraniums covered the foundation 



436 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

stones. The windows were wide open, and the 
lace curtains were blowing out in the breeze. 

A Chinese servant admitted her, and ambled off 
in his slippered feet to find his mistress. The 
parlor in which she waited was large, and amply 
furnished with plain, unostentatious elegance. The 
mistress of this home sat in her little back sitting- 
room, gently swaying to and fro in a low rocker, 
darning one of her husband's socks, and chatting 
with him, as he sat opposite her, trying to read 
his paper, and looking at her over the top of his 
glasses. She was a trim little body, and not so 
little neither, only she had the dainty neatness of 
figure and dress that usually distinguishes small 
women. 

In the mornings, when shopping, or about her 
homely household tasks, she always wore brown 
serge, but in the afternoons she invariably wore 
black satin, with blond net smoothly folded about 
her throat, and down the open bosom of the dress, 
and pinned with an old-fashioned, large cameo 
brooch. 

So she appeared now, a very pleasant sight in 
the eyes of her husband, when the meek Celestial 
handed her Portia's card and slipped noiselessly 
away. 

She rose suddenly, scattering scissors and balls on 
the floor. " Darius Wentworth Marshall ! " she 
cried. 

"Well, Mary.?" he reached from his chair, and 
gathered up the articles she had dropped with the 
unconscious patience born of years of such willing 
service. 



The Judgment of Portia 437 

" Look at that card ! I told you if she was worth 
him she would follow him. I told him so too. I 
would." 

''Certainly you would, Mary," he said, with a 
quiet smile; "that goes without saying." 

She began brushing the threads from her dress. 
"Now, Darius, what shall I say.^ We will keep 
her right here, of course; but what shall I say .-^ " 

"Wait till you see her, Mary. You will say the 
right thing then. You know you will." 

She patted his cheek, kissed him, and left him. 
This childless woman had petted her husband for 
forty years. It had become a habit with her 
now. 

Some women, whether they be young or old, 
whether they be conscious of it or not, more often 
not, have the power of drawing other souls to 
themselves, to love them and to need them. There 
is no magnet so strong or so blessed as the sym- 
pathizing, loving heart of a sweet, g6od woman. 

Portia, wearied with her long journey, felt her 
knees tremble under her as she rose to meet John's 
Aunt Mary, but the moment she looked into those 
kindly gray eyes she knew why it was he had 
always so loved her. For an instant the lips of 
each quivered with unspoken thoughts. They held 
out their hands to each other, and in another 
moment were locked in each other's arms. 

Then Portia spoke between her sobs. " I had to 
come to you, John loved you so. There was noth- 
ing left for me to do." 

"You have done just right. I have been expect- 
ing you for the last three days. John said you 



438 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

would not come; I said I knew you would. Now 
come right up to your room." 

" How could you expect me? It was such a wild 
thing for me to do. I did not know, myself, when 
I left home, that I was coming. I did not even 
know that he was here. I just came, that is all." 

"How did I know you were coming .-* Why, 
child, I have been a woman all my life. That is 
how I knew. Here is your room, the one he used 
to have. I wanted him to take it again, but he 
would not. He said it brought back too many 
memories. Poor fellow! he is just about out of his 
head, that 's what he is." 

*'What a dear room!" said Portia, entering it. 
" How could he help having it again .'* " 

"Why, the boy is crazy; he doesn't — but there, 
dear, he will be all right now." 

Portia, still quivering with excitement, bent over 
a great vase of roses on the table. " How sweet 
these are ! " she said, trying to calm herself. 

"John set out the bush those grew on the last 
year he was here. I always keep a vase of them in 
this room. Where is your trunk.-*" Portia told 
her. "Very well. It shall be sent for immedi- 
ately." The dear old lady bustled about a moment, 
then took a chair near Portia's. "Now, dear, tell 
me everything you wish, and ask all the questions 
you wish." 

"You are so good. When did John come.? " 

"Three days ago." 

"And do you know what he is going to do.'* " 

" That he will tell you now, dear. He was going 
to Japan. He was to start to-morrow. " 



The Judgment of Portia 439 

Portia turned pale. "Oh, what if I had waited 
another day ! " 

"Now, child, you are too tired to talk or think. 
You didn't wait another day, so it is all right." 
She left the room, returning immediately with a 
long white wrapper of soft quilted silk over her 
arm. "You just put this on and lie down for an 
hour, and by that time your trunk will be here, and 
then you can put on a fresh dress and see John for 
yourself. He will be back by that time. This 
is mine, but I guess we are about of a bigness, 
are n't we.-^ " 

" Oh ! " said Portia, smiling, " some day I will 
tell you how good you are. I can't now, but I will 
do whatever you tell me to." 

Sweetly and dreamlessly she rested in the rose- 
scented room, and awoke refreshed and strength- 
ened. She came downstairs dressed in the colors 
John loved best to see her wear, — a creamy white 
gown, with violet bands of velvet, and knots of 
ribbon, and at her belt a cluster of John's roses. 
The pretty pink flush had come back to her cheeks, 
and Aunt Mary's eyes were satisfied with the sight 
of her. She took her in her arms once more, then 
turned her about to see her on all sides. 

"There! Now you are just what a woman ought 
to be. I don't wonder John fell in love with you. 
Now, dear, I am going to leave you here alone. 
You take a book and read a while. John has come 
back, and gone up to his room. He will be down 
soon; he is so restless he never stays anywhere 
more than a minute except at night, and then he 
walks the floor most of the time. No, I haven't 



440 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

told him you are here, — not a thing; and when 
he comes in, dear, don't you mind a thing he says. 
He has got to the point where he doesn't know 
what's good for him, nor care." 

Portia was glad he had not been told of her pres- 
ence. She did not wish him to have time to pre- 
pare himself to meet her, nor in his self-renunciation 
to try to dissuade her from her purpose by appear- 
ing to feel other than he really felt. She wished 
to surprise him into such betrayal of himself that 
his whole heart would be revealed, that he might 
not say her nay. 

She walked the room restlessly a moment, then 
went to the window and looked out. A Chinaman, 
trudging under a pair of heavy baskets, passed by. 
Everywhere they seemed to be in evidence. She 
did not realize that she was effectually screened 
from the room by the silken curtains, and at the 
moment John entered. Her heart stood still. She 
shrank back into the corner, dreading to move, and 
drew the curtains closer about her. He walked 
slowly about, looking absently at this and that, his 
hands behind his back, his head drooped. All the 
vigorous activity of mind and body seemed to have 
left him. His eyes looked sad and larger than 
usual. Only his hair clung a little to his temples, 
pressed down by his hat, as it used when he came 
hurriedly from a walk over the hills. Presently 
he dropped down into his aunt's little rocker, and 
sat with his elbows on his knees, and his head 
in his hands. Slowly, involuntarily, Portia came 
toward him, holding out her hands, and John lifted 
his head. Then, in that instant, she saw all she 



The Judgment of Portia 441 

wanted to see, all her heart craved. He rose, with 
his old joyous smile, glowing, transfigured, and 
then, without moving a step toward her, sank back 
into his chair, shaken, quivering, and covered his 
face. 

She went near to him, and placed one hand on 
his hair, lightly touching the soft rings. He put 
out his hand to thrust her gently from him, but 
instead his fingers closed over hers and held them 
close. 

" Go away from me, Portia, go away," he groaned, 
yet clinging to her hand as a drowning man clings 
to a straw. 

She knelt beside him, and laid her cheek against 
his; it was wet with tears. She took her own 
handkerchief and wiped them away, while his arm 
stole about her and drew her to him. 

"Portia, Portia, I would have saved you, dear; I 
would have saved you. Why did you come, my 
beautiful.?" Then he looked at her. Hungrily, 
tenderly, his eyes looked into hers, while the strong 
arm that held her quivered. "I can't sacrifice 
you, Portia; I can't do it. I love you too well. 
You have come to me like an angel. You have 
brought me happiness enough for a lifetime; you 
have brought me happiness enough for heaven. 
Now go, dear; let this be the last. Let me go 
away from you now and bear the sins of my fathers 
alone." 

Up to this time Portia had not spoken, — she 
could not. Now the words came like a flood. 
"Why did I follow you, John.'* Because I must* 
I would have followed you to the ends of the earth. 



442 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

If you had gone where you were going to-morrow, I 
would have followed you there. I did not know 
you were here, John, I only followed my heart; 
that was how I found you. What kind of a woman 
did you take me for.? Did you think I would stay 
there, at home, and take the money you left me, 
while you wandered off into the world alone with 
this hurt in your soul ? " 

She put her hand into her bosom and drew out 
the little miniature of his father, which she had 
carried so carefully. "Before I left, John, I went 
to see your mother; she is dead now. I thought 
she was dying when I went into the cabin, but she 
said she was only waiting for you to com.e in. 
She begged me to tell her where you were, and I 
could n't. Then she gave me this for you; look at 
it. It is your father. " 

He took it from her and threw it on the floor, 
and would have set his heel on it, but she snatched 
it up. 
/ " I tell you, Portia, I am cursed. My father 

cursed me," he said vehemently. " Give it to me." 
He groaned and turned his face away, but still 
held her to him. 

" Other fathers have sinned; yours is not the only 
one. Every human being must bear in some way 
the sins of his fathers. All are not cursed. You 
must not forget the last part of that command- 
ment, ' Showing mercy unto thousands of them 
that love me and keep my commandments. ' Why, 
John, I love this little picture. It looks like you, 
John, — as if you were wearing those old-fashioned 
clothes, and looking out at me. Look at it. Think 



The Judgment of Portia 443 

of that beautiful young man, your father. If I had 
lived then and had known him as I do you now, I 
should have loved him, John. No, you cannot 
have it. I shall keep it here, as I have done, so 
carefully, until you can love it as I do." 

"Oh, Portia, if I could only die now! You have 
brought me this moment of perfect happiness — but 
it cannot last, dearest, it must not. Do you remem- 
ber that last night when I bade you good-bye.-* " 

"Yes, John." She spoke so low he scarce could 
hear her. "How could I forget.'' " and her cheeks 
flamed crimson at the remembrance of that good- 
bye. 

" I was crazed, then, darling, but I meant it for 
all time. It was to save you; it was best, — and 
now — " 

Portia felt herself choking. She tried to speak, 
and struggled for her voice. 

"Wait, wait, John; don't say it, — let me speak." 
Suddenly she threw her arms about his neck, and 
drew his head down to her. " Listen, listen to me. 
Once you conquered me, John. You made me love; 
you know it, John. You made me say words to 
you, — do you remember ? — you said them to me, — 
* No power on earth shall take you from me, John.' 
Now this, that is taking you from me, that you are 
allowing to take me from you, is an earthly power. 
Man, not God, made the distinctions that would 
separate us. God made you, and gave you your 
living soul, his forever. Must I give up the God- 
made man for the man-made distinctions that would 
discriminate between one of his living souls and 
another.? John, to him all souls are white souls; 



444 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads 

he made them all ; he so loved the world, John, 
not only one race of it. We must do the same 
before we can cross the boundary line we have 
reached now toward God-likeness. One day we 
must go to him ; we can take to him only what 
we are; all the rest will pass away and be as noth- 
ing. John, what I love in you is what God loves. 
Take me, John, and love me." 

He was conquered. He rose, strong in his man- 
hood's strength, and again his face shone like the 
face of one transfigured. He lifted Portia from 
her knees and held her to his breast. *' Forever, 
darling, forever," he said. 

"And, John, the past is to be put behind us for 
all time. You are to be as I, and I am to be as 
you." 

"Forever, my beautiful. Where is the dress I 
never saw, — your wedding dress.''" 

" I have it with me. It is upstairs." 

"Will you wear it for me to-morrow, Portia.''" 
His eyes danced with the old light, but his lips 
quivered. 

" Yes, John. Shall I go with you wherever you 
go?" 

"Always, dearest, always. I could not let you 
leave me now; it would take my life." 
Shall we go back, John ? " 

Not yet. We will arrange for your dear little 
mother; we will think about it, and then we will 
go where I intended to go alone, and become ad- 
justed to the world. You see, sweet one, I have 
entered a new world now, and must learn to know 
it. You are to teach me." 






The Judgment of Portia 445 

When Aunt Mary entered the room, she was 
satisfied. Mt is all right, dears; it is just as it 
should be. I saw how it was, John, the moment 1 
looked at her. You could not help loving her any 
more than she could help loving you. I told you 
she would come, and she did. That 's just what I 
should have done. Now come out to tea." 



THE END 



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